GRAMMY-NOMINATED PIANIST / COMPOSER / ARRANGER
“Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis,
reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of
Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of
Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.” –LA Times
GRAMMY®-nominated recording artist and Emmy-nominated Music Director John Beasley’s music career spans three decades with credits that reads like a “who’s who” list in the music, Film, TV and other entertainment worlds.
HIGHLIGHTS OF JOHN BEASLEY’S CAREER:
- Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, George Duke, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Lee Ritenour, even a stint with James Brown.
Music Director, Concerts
- International Jazz Day galas: White House (DC) 2016, Paris 2015+2012, Osaka 2014, Istanbul 2013
- Monk Institute Tribute galas: Quincy Jones 2015, Bill Clinton 2014, George Duke 2013, 25th Anniversary Gala Tribute to Aretha Franklin 2012
- Jazz and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Disney Hall: Youth concert series: Host/MD/Bandleader 2011 + 2014
- Dianne Reeves band Many Rivers Civil Rights concert 2016
Music Director, TV shows
- Jazz at the White House – 2016 Emmy Nomination for Best Music Direction – ABC
- Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful, MD and theme composer – NBC 2014
- American Idol (multi-platinum Carrie Underwood victory in 2005, Associate Music Director) FOX 2005-2016
- Sing Your Face Off – ABC 2014
- Duets with John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles – ABC 2012
- Search for the Next Pussycat Dolls – CW 2007
- Carly Simon A Moonlight Serenade aboard Queen Mary, Conductor – PBS 2005
Music Director, tours
- Steely Dan Art Crimes world tour
- Queen Latifah’s Travelin’ Lite 40-city US Tour
- AR Rahman Jai Ho world tour
Film and TV composer, performer
- Films: James Bond Spectre and Skyfall, Finding Dory and Finding Nemo, Get on Up (James Brown), Exotic Marigold Hotel I and II, He called me Malala, Wall-E, Shawshank Redemption, Godfather III, and 100+ films as Drum/Synthesizer Programmer and pianist
- TV: 2016 National Democratic Convention underscore, Touchstone TV logo, Award-winning TV series: Fame, Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek: Next Generation
- Lee Ritenour A Twist of Rit, Peter Erskine Um and the Lost Pages, Yota Miyazato Colors,
Darryl Jones|Ndugu Chancler|John Beasley 3 Brave Souls and for EWE Japan: Chie Ayado: 3 albums: Time, Shine, Life, Yosvany Terry Metamorphis, and Hubert Laws
- 11 recordings, including Grammy-nominated Positootly! Best Instrumental Jazz Album 2011
- Latest recording MONK’estra, Vol 1 Aug 2016 launched to critical review and 4-star rating.
Global tour planned to celebrate Thelonious Monk’s centennial -October 10, 2017- including jazz festivals in Europe, Korea, Japan, US, Canada and Beasley guest conducting European orchestras playing the music of MONK’estra, including Brussels Jazz Orchestra, HR German Jazz Orchestra, Blue House Jazz Orchestra, Sweden
Arranger on performances and albums
- Rhianna VMA performance 2016, Robert Glasper performance African American Museum 2016 Opening Concert ABC TV, SR Big Band Stuttgart-Germany, Luckman Jazz Orchestra
- TV shows: The Tonight Show, VHI Divas special, American Idol (2005-2016), The Winner Is, America’s Got Talent, Singing Bee
- Guest Lecturer Julliard NY, Rutgers NJ, Codarts Rotterdam Conservatory, ASCAP, I Create Music, GRAMMY® Camp and masterclasses in US, Guatemala, Taiwan, Mexico, and the Netherlands.
John is a former GRAMMY Board Governor and chair of the Foundations Committee. Today he continues to serve on the Advocacy Committee.
Born in Louisiana, the cradle of jazz, Beasley started writing arrangements in junior high school, the first one for the University of North Texas Jazz Band. Jimmy Lyons, founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, heard Beasley’s piece and recommended him for a scholarship at the Stan Kenton summer jazz camp. The song was then added to The Stan Kenton Orchestra’s repertoire that year.
Beasley is a third generation musician. His father is a bassoonist, pianist, and composer. His mother was a brass instrumentalist, band conductor and orchestrator. His grandfather was a trombonist. Growing up around musicians, John learned how to play trumpet, oboe, drums, saxophone, and flute, mostly because of his mother’s need for wind instrumentalists for her bands.
Declining an oboe scholarship from the Julliard, at 17, Beasley instead started playing in clubs before he was of legal drinking age. Soon after, he went on his first world tour with Brazilian artist Sergio Mendes, then spent eight years with jazz icon Freddie Hubbard, while keeping up with his garage band Audio Mind with Vinnie Colauita, John Patittucci, and Steve Taviglione.
At the young age of 24, Beasley started writing music for Paramount, Disney, and MGM’s television shows, including Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek, and Fame. He wrote the Touchstone TV logo, which is still used today. As a studio musician, he has worked for luminaries such as Thomas Newman, Dave Gruisin, Alan Silvestri, and Carmine Coppola. Today, he is part of Thomas Newman’s core team creating drum and synth programming for James Bond Spectre + Skyfall, He called me Malala, Get on Up: James Brown bio pic, Exotic Marigold Hotel, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E, to name a few.
He writes music for Nobel Peace Prize winning Doctors Without Borders’ videos pro bono. Along the way, Beasley has written award-winning commercials for ad agencies in the US and Germany for over 20 years.
Miles Davis call and Recording Career
At 28, Beasley got the phone call of a lifetime from Miles Davis to join his band. While on tour with Miles, he was inspired to release his first CD, Cauldron, which was produced by Steely Dan’s Walter Becker. His Positootly! album earned a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Record. In 2012, he joined forces with two other Miles Davis alumni, Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones bassist) and the signature drummer for Michael Jacksons Billie Jean, Ndugu Chancler to form 3 Brave Souls. This triumvirate wrote, as one reviewer said, some “tangy, ass-wiggling funk.”
Long a dream, Beasley formed a 15 piece big band called MONK’estra, capturing the spirit of Monk’s unique quirkiness, offbeat accents, punchy dissonances, in fresh arrangements of Monk’s and other classic and original compositions. Veteran jazz critic Don Heckman described Beasley’s big band and his talent as “some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory …extraordinary orchestrating abilities, imaginative soloing from players.” MONK’estra has played to standing ovation at SFJazz, Walt Disney Hall, Ford Amphitheatre, Jazz Standard, LACMA. Mack Avenue has released MONK’estra Vol 1 Aug 2016 with Vol 2 due out in 2017 – Thelonious Monk’s Centennial year.
John is truly an amazing pianist, imaginative composer, creative improviser and arranger. –Jazz Times
John Beasley is one of the best pianists and improvisers on the jazz scene today. Beasley is a master musician, with total command of the jazz language, and his playing is always intense in both emotion and technique. -All About Jazz
SELECT CREDIT LIST – John Beasley – Recording Artist, Pianist, Composer, Music Director
MONK’estra, Vol 1 – Mack Avenue Records 2016
3 Brave Souls – John Beasley, Ndugu Chancler, Darryl Jones – BFM Jazz
Positootly! (Grammy nomination: Best Jazz Instrumental Album) – Jeff Watts, Bennie Maupin, James Genus, Brian Lynch – Resonance Records
Letter to Herbie – Jeff Wattts, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride – Resonance Records
One LIVE Night – Gary Novak, Dave Carpenter, Carlos DelPuerto – Beasley Music
Nuances – solo piano – EWE Japan
Surfacing – Vinnie Colauita, Robert Hurst – EWE Japan
Cauldron – John Pattitucci, Bill Summers, Ricky Minor, Peter Erskine – Windham Hill
A Change of Heart – John Patitucci, Terri Lynn Carrington, Freddie Washington – Windham Hill
10/10:The Music of Thelonious Monk – John Beasley and Steve Cardenas,TDK Japan
Commotion 2: Sampler of Windham Hill Jazz – Windham Hill
Mose the Fireman (book on tape, read by Michael Keaton, music John Beasley and Walter Becker) – Rabbit Ears
PERFORMER: TOURS, GIGS, TV SPECIALS
Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, James Brown, Marcus Miller, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, A.R. Rahman, Esperanza Spalding, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Chaka Khan, John Patitucci, Dianne Reeves, John Mayer, Sergio Mendes, Wallace Roney, Chris Botti, Buster Williams, Bennie Maupin, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Garrett, Jon Hassell, Baaba Maal, Howie B, Lee Ritenour, Jeff “Tain Watts, Harvey Mason, Stanley Clarke, El Negro & Robby Ameen, The Count Basie Orchestra (conducted by Thad Jones), Spice Girls, Carly Simon, Chie Ayado, Jessica Simpson, Clint Black, Kelly Clarkson, Ron Fair, Reuben Stoddard, Destiny’s Child, Sheryl Crow, Chick Corea, Barbra Streisand, Michelle Branch, Hart, Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper, Ry Cooder, Bette Midler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Chrissie Hynde, Emmylou Harris, Lee Ann Womack, Rikki Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Ivan Lins, Kip Hanrahan, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Fantasia, Dwight Tribble, Brian Lynch, Yolanda Adams, Patti Austin, Shirley Caesar, Dionne Warwick, CeCe Winans, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Miles from India, Dave Liebman, Tal Wilkenfeld and Mike Stern
PERFORMER ON FILM/TV SCORES
Thomas Newman (synth programming, pianist, orchestration, Pro Tools editing), Dave Gruisin, Stanley Clarke, George S. Clinton, Carmine Coppola, Alan Silvestri
Films: selected list
James Bond: Spectre 2015, Skyfall 2012, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2015, He called me Malala documentary 2015, Get on Up 2014, The Adjustment Bureau, The Debt, Brothers, Jarhead, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Six Feet Under, Brothers, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Dreamgirls, Simpsons, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Angels in America, , Erin Brockovitch, The Salton Sea, A Bug’s Life, The Godfather III, Twin Peaks (TV Series), The Green Mile, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Usual Suspects, Fried Green Tomatoes, Shall We Dance, Up Close and Personal, Hope Floats, The Gods Must Be Crazy II, The Horse Whisperer, Little Women, The Abyss, Fatal Attraction, Corrina, Corrina, Bonfire of the Vanities, Family Guy, Meet Joe Black, Murphy Brown.