NPR Music – A Supreme Blog
Meet The Man Who Assembles The World’s Biggest Jazz Concert
April, 30, 2013



MONK’estra Reviews:

Beasley’s envelope-stretching arrangements, his extraordinary orchestrating abilities, imaginative soloing from players: a net result of some of the most mesmerizing big band music –individually and collectively– of recent memory.

– Don Heckman, International Review of Music

Five Stars:  Spectacular! The ultra-hip, ultra-cool, ultra-swinging John Beasley’s MONK’estra rocked the house at Vitellos.’ Supersize figure in the jazz music world, Beasley led a dazzling assemblage of players.

– Cynthia Lum, 

Beasley is a real genius. His imaginative, modern arrangements are artistic charts colored outside the lines of traditional big band music arrangements. 

– Paul Edelstein, Sounds of Timeless Jazz

Concert Review:
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.

– Los Angeles Times, Bill Kohlhaase

Positootly! CD Reviews:
John is truly an amazing pianist, imaginative composer, creative improviser and arranger. And with Positootly he created an album that people will look back as one of the first Jazz classic albums of the 21th century

-Jazz Times
This recording is his finest effort, and stands proudly alongside his previous recording, a fine tribute to Herbie Hancock.
-All Music
4 ½ starsPositootly! is pure art…fasten your seatbelts…Beasley is masterful on keys.
A first call pianist/keyboardist has been one of the best kept secrets in jazz. ‘Letter to Herbie’ is an extremely impressive recording that satisfies from end to end. The rhythmn section is two of the most important players in the last 20 years – Christian McBride and Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts.  Beasley, McBride and Watts immediately turn on the pots and get to smokin’!  If you purchase this cd, you will get an immediate insight into what’s happen in jazz at this moment.
 Skip Norris,The Music Hall for the Performing Arts Center ( customer review)Letter to Herbie CD Reviews:

Beasley is also a singular pianist who is chirpy and breaks up his dazzling melodic runs with staccato perfunctory harmonic statements that then bend the music in another surprising direction. Thus he is never predictable and always makes a new surprise flow through the tips of his fingers that take the keyboard to task every once and awhile.

Raul da Gama

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, Wilbert Sostre

Beasley opted for an all out tribute with an all star cast including Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Christian McBride and Roy Hargrove. In the true jazz tradition, Beasley has brilliantly interpreted Hancock’s music, transforming ‘4AM’ from its original funk into a swinging uptempo affair and juxtaposing ‘Tell Me A Bedtime Story’ and ‘Maiden Voyage’ into ‘Bedtime Voyage’. Herbie’s reply must surely be ‘You’ve done me proud’. Brent Keefe, Drummer UK

Clever arrangements. Hancock never wrote a song called ‘Bedtime Voyage,’ but Beasley does a ‘mash-up’ of ‘Maiden Voyage’ and ‘Tell Me A Bedtime Story,’ two of Herbie’s finest compositions. This mash is a real banger, and I would go back for second helpings. Beasley is quite effective, especially as a rhythm section pianist, and has mastered a number of Hancock’s signature devices. This is a strong performance and a notch above your typical tribute project. –, Ted Gioia 4 stars


Selected Articles.

February 2011 — Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall
John Beasley with Los Angeles Philharmonic: “Jazz and the Orchestra”