Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Week (january 30 - february 5) - John Beasley
In demand US pianist, composer and arranger John Beasley has played with everyone from Miles Davis and Chick Corea to Steely Dan and James Brown. His recording credits include Hollywood blockbusters Finding Nemo and Austin Powers and he is MD for hit shows American Idol and America’s Got Talent. His latest tour brings together bassist Buster Williams and multi-reedist Bennie Maupin, two original members of Herbie Hancock’s Sextet with drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, to play music from Beasley’s latest CD Letter to Herbie, a tribute album to Herbie Hancock.
Growing up around musicians, Beasley learned how to play piano, trumpet, oboe, drums, saxophone and flute and, because of his love for jazz, declined an oboe scholarship from the Julliard after high school. Beasley went on to play, tour and record with some of the biggest names around, including Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Queen Latifah (MD), Christian McBride, Steely Dan (MD), James Brown, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, The Spice Girls, Jessica Simpson and Clint Black. While touring with Miles Davis, Beasley was inspired to release his first of eight solo recordings, which was produced by Steely Dan’s Walter Becker
Recognizing his talent for composing and arranging, major film studios such as Paramount, Disney and MGM have added Beasley's original piano sound and music to their projects. His work can be heard on box office hits WALL-E, Finding Nemo, Erin Brockovich, Godfather III, A Bug's Life and Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me and TV shows Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek and Fame.
With the popularity of reality shows, Beasley, started working as Musical Director or Arranger on some of the top music and dance shows, including American Idol, Pussycat Dolls Presents, The Search for the Next Doll, America’s Got Talent and Singing Bee. On Season 4 of American Idol, Beasley was Associate Musical Director overseeing the 12 female finalists. He arranged the selected songs and coached and rehearsed the contestants for their performances. To his credit, Carrie Underwood took the title and went on to earn a GRAMMY and be a No. 1 country music sensation.
Today, Beasley continues to release new music, tour with his band, juggle studio work (commercials, TV and films), conduct workshops, produce other artists, perform and produce music award specials, work on music reality shows, and tour with Queen Latifah as her Musical Director. His eighth album, Letter to Herbie, a tribute to 2008 GRAMMY winner, Herbie Hancock, which features Christian McBride, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Roy Hargrove was released April 2008, topping the Jazz Week Charts and up for Grammy consideration.
Beasley’s latest tour brings together bassist Buster Williams and multi-reedist Bennie Maupin, two original members of Herbie Hancock’s Sextet (Mwandishi and Sextant), with drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, to play music from Beasley’s latest CD Letter to Herbie, a tribute album to Herbie Hancock.
“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