John Beasley

John Beasley is the latest of the Beasley clan to reach prominence in music.
“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.

Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, George Duke, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Lee Ritenour, to name a few with a stint with James Brown.
Music Director, Concerts
International Jazz Day galas: Havana 2017, 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 Day in Havana, Cuba 2017 BET
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
Recording Artist with 11 recordings
Arranger on performances, albums, TV shows
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 Four, 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, Austria.
John is a GRAMMY Board Governor and chair of the Foundations Committee and serves on the Advocacy Committee.

Born in Shreveport and the latest in the line of Beasley’s in the music business, 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.

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 Bealey’s “Monkestra” with “‘Round Midnight”

“Little Rootie Tootie”

The “why” of Monkestra.

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