Braxton is recognized as one of the most important musicians, educators, and creative thinkers of the past 50 years, highly esteemed in the creative music community for the revolutionary quality of his work and for the mentorship and inspiration he has provided to generations of younger musicians. Drawing upon a disparate mix of influences from John Coltrane to Karlheinz Stockhausen to Native American music, Braxton has created a unique musical system that celebrates the concept of global creativity and our shared humanity. His work examines core principles of improvisation, structural navigation and ritual engagement—innovation, spirituality and intellectual investigation. His many accolades include a 1981 Guggenhiem Fellowship, a 1994 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2014 NEA Jazz Master Award.
One of improvised music’s most in-demand guitarists, Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called her “a singular talent” (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), ”NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). The Philadelphia City Paper’s Shaun Brady adds, “Halvorson has been steadily reshaping the sound of jazz guitar in recent years with her elastic, sometimes-fluid, sometimes-shredding, wholly unique style.”
After three years of study with visionary composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, Ms. Halvorson became an active member of several of his bands, including his trio, septet and 12+1tet. To date, she appears on over ten of Mr. Braxton’s recordings. Ms. Halvorson has also performed alongside iconic guitarist Marc Ribot, in his bands Sun Ship and The Young Philadelphians, and with the bassist Trevor Dunn in his Trio-Convulsant. Over the past decade she has worked with such diverse bandleaders as Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Tomeka Reid and John Zorn.
As a bandleader and composer, one of Ms. Halvorson’s primary outlets is her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. Since their 2008 debut album, Dragon’s Head, the band was recognized as a rising star jazz band by Downbeat Magazine for five consecutive years. Most recently she has formed an octet, adding trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, saxophonists Jon Irabagon and Ingrid Laubrock, trombonist Jacob Garchik, and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn. Their debut 2016 release, Away With You, on the Firehouse 12 Record label, was called “radiant” by the New York Times and “one of the most intricate and entrancing sets of her career” by Pitchfork. Ms. Halvorson is also a part of several collaborative projects including Thumbscrew (with Michael Formanek and Tomas Fujiwara), Secret Keeper (with Stephan Crump), a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, and the avant-rock band People.
Newark-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey (b. 1980) is celebrated for his incomparable virtuosity, effortless mastery and memorization of highly complex scores, and an extraordinary ability to blend composition and improvisation in his work. He has performed nationally and internationally with his own ensembles, as well as artists such as John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Claire Chase, Steve Coleman, Steve Lehman, Robyn Schulkowsky, Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, and Myra Melford, among many others.
The New York Times has praised Sorey for his instrumental facility and aplomb, “he plays not only with gale-force physicality, but also a sense of scale and equipoise”; The Wall Street Journal notes Sorey is, “a composer of radical and seemingly boundless ideas.” The New Yorker recently noted that Sorey is “among the most formidable denizens of the in-between zone…An extraordinary talent who can see across the entire musical landscape.”
Sorey has received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation, The Shifting Foundation, and Van Lier Fellowship. The Spektral Quartet, Ojai Music Festival, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) have commissioned his works, which exemplify a penchant for a thorough exploration of the intersection between improvisation and composition. Sorey also collaborates regularly with ICE as a percussionist and resident composer. Future commissions include a residency at the Berlin Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project in partnership with Opera Philadelphia supporting a new work for tenor Lawrence Brownlee addressing themes associated with Black Lives Matter.
In 2012, he was selected as one of nine composers for the Other Minds Festival, where he exchanged ideas with such like-minded peers as Ikue Mori, Ken Ueno, and Harold Budd. In 2013, Jazz Danmark invited him to serve as the Danish International Visiting Artist. He was a 2015 recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Award. Sorey has taught and lectured on composition and improvisation at Columbia University, The New School, The Banff Centre, Wesleyan University, International Realtime Music Symposium, Hochschule für Musik Köln, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Danish Rhythmic Conservatory. His work has been premiered at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Ojai Music Festival, The Kitchen, Walt Disney Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and the Stone, among many other established venues and festivals.
Sorey recently received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University. In Fall 2017, he will assume the role of Assistant Professor of Composition and Creative Musics at Wesleyan University, where he received his Masters degree in Composition in 2011.
Peter Evans is a trumpet player, and improvisor/composer based in New York City since 2003. Evans is part of a broad, hybridized scene of musical experimentation and his work cuts across a wide range of modern musical practices and traditions. Peter is committed to the simultaneously self-determining and collaborative nature of musical improvisation as a compositional tool, and works with an ever-expanding group of musicians and composers in the creation of new music. His primary groups as a leader are the Peter Evans Ensemble and Being & Becoming (with Joel Ross and Max Jaffe). In addition, Evans has been performing and recording solo trumpet music since 2002 and is widely recognized as a leading voice in the field, having released several recordings over the past decade. He is a member of the cooperative groups Pulverize the Sound (with Mike Pride and Tim Dahl) and Rocket Science (with Evan Parker, Craig Taborn and Sam Pluta) and is constantly experimenting and forming new configurations with like minded players. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Yarn/Wire, the Donaueschingen Musiktage Festival, the Jerome Foundation's Emerging Artist Program, and the Doris Duke Foundation. Evans has presented and/or performed his works at major festivals worldwide and tours his own groups extensively. He has worked with some of the leading figures in new music: John Zorn, Kassa Overall, Jim Black, Weasel Walter, Matana Roberts, Tyshawn Sorey, Levy Lorenzo, Nate Wooley, Steve Schick, Mary Halvorson, Joe McPhee and performs with both ICE and the Wet Ink Ensemble. He has been releasing recordings on his own label, More is More, since 2011. 2016 saw the release of the highly acclaimed solo album "Lifeblood" and "Genesis", the third last record by the Peter Evans Quintet.
Nate Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the U.S. He began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of 13. His time in Oregon, a place of relative quiet and slow time reference, instilled in Nate a musical aesthetic that has informed all of his music making for the past 20 years, but in no situation more than his solo trumpet performances.
Nate moved to New York in 2001, and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson.
In the past years, Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Time Out New York has called him “an iconoclastic trumpeter”. The New York City Jazz Record voted Wooley Musician of the Year 2011 and 2013. An international critics poll in El Intruso Magazine elected him Musician of the Year 2013 and Trumpet Player of the Year for three years in a row. Dave Douglas: “Nate Wooley is one of the most interesting and unusual trumpet players living today, and that is without hyperbole”
His work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg, North Sea, Music Unlimited, and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, and the New York New Darmstadt Festivals. In 2011 he was an artist in residence at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY and Cafe Oto in London, England. In 2013 he performed at the Walker Art Center as a featured solo artist.
Nate is the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music (www.dramonline.org) and the editor-in-chief of their online quarterly journal Sound American (www.soundamerican.org) both of which are dedicated to broadening the definition of American music through their online presence and the physical distribution of music through Sound American Records. He also runs Pleasure of the Text which releases music by composers of experimental music at the beginnings of their careers in rough and ready mediums.
In 2016 Nate Wooley received the prestigious Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artist Award
Acclaimed by Downtown Music Gallery as "one of the best pianists and composers to emerge from the downtown network over the past few years," Carl Maguire is active as a performer and collaborator with a variety of New York creative artists. His primary focus as a composer and band leader for the past six years has been realizing Floriculture.
Carl grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where his early piano teachers included Jacquelyn Patricia, Ellsworth Snyder, and Joan Wildman. He continued on to the University of Wisconsin, studying improvisation with Roscoe Mitchell.
Moving to New York in 1995, Carl engaged in a curriculum of liberal arts at Hunter College, Schenkerian analysis at Mannes, and post-tonal theory at CUNY Graduate Center. He studied piano with Fred Hersch, Marilyn Crispell, and Ursula Oppens, and of particular importance, composition with Mark Dresser.
Carl performs on piano and Rhodes, with both traditional and less-traditional techniques, and sometimes on accordion. He has performed or recorded with the Carter Thornton Assembly; Brett Sroka's Ergo; Tyshawn Sorey Quartet; The Wau Wau Sisters; Laura Andel Orchestra; Barbez; Ben Gerstein Collective; Momenta Quartet; and was a featured soloist in Butch Morris' New York Skyscraper.
Since 2001, Carl has led Floriculture. The band plays exclusively Maguire's compositions, which call on the musicians to integrate extended sections of exact notation with improvisational passages to create a vivid and compelling aural landscape. Donald Elfman says "These are exceptional players, but each man's every note is at the service of making brilliant, involving music." In 2006, Floriculture released its first album on Between The Lines, to critical acclaim. In June, 2009, Floriculture will release its second album, Sided Silver Solid, on Firehouse 12 Records.
Taylor Ho Bynum (b. 1975) has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation – through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. Bynum’s expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over twenty recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman. Recent releases on the Firehouse 12 Records label include the 4-album set “Navigation” (2013) with his Sextet and 7-tette, and “Enter the Plustet” (2016), the debut recording of his 15-piece creative orchestra.
His varied endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing and performing on most of Braxton’s recent major projects). In addition to his own bands, his ongoing collaboration with Braxton, past work with other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, and current collective projects with forward thinking peers like Mary Halvorson and Tomas Fujiwara, Bynum increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music. He is also a published author and contributor to The New Yorker’s Culture Blog, has taught at universities, festivals, and workshops worldwide, and is the director of Dartmouth College’s Barbary Coast Jazz and Creative Music Ensemble. He has also served as a panelist and consultant for leading funders, arts organizations, and individual artists, and his work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Tomas Fujiwara is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer. Described as “a ubiquitous presence in the New York scene…an artist whose urbane writing is equal to his impressively nuanced drumming” (Troy Collins, Point of Departure), Tomas is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation, with his bands Triple Double (with Gerald Cleaver, Mary Halvorson, Brandon Seabrook, Ralph Alessi, and Taylor Ho Bynum), Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up (with Jonathan Finlayson, Brian Settles, Halvorson, and Michael Formanek) and The Tomas Fujiwara Trio (with Alessi and Seabrook); his collaborative duo with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum; the collective trio Thumbscrew (with Halvorson and Formanek); and a diversity of creative sideman work with forward thinking peers like Tomeka Reid and Matana Roberts. In The New York Times, Nate Chinen writes, “Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, solidbut ever shifting. His style is forward-driving but rarely blunt or aggressive, and never random. He has a way of spreading out the center of a pulse while setting up a rigorous scaffolding of restraint...A conception of the drum set as a full-canvas instrument, almost orchestral in its scope.”
Born and raised in Boston, MA, Tomas studied with legendary drummer and teacher Alan Dawson for eight years before moving to New York at the age of 17. He is currently a member of ensembles led by Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson, Matana Roberts, Nicole Mitchell, Matt Bauder, and Tomeka Reid, in addition to projects with artists such as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Michael Formanek, Ben Goldberg, and Benoit Delbecq, and has performed at festivals and venues across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. He also has many experiences outside the jazz realm, including a five-year run with the Off Broadway show Stomp and performances with the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Fela!, featuring Patti Labelle and members of Antibalas.
For pianist, composer and Guggenheim fellow Myra Melford, the personal and the poetic have always been intimately and deeply connected. Raised outside Chicago in a house designed by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Melford grew up literally surrounded by art. Where most of us find the beauty in our childhood homes through the memories and associations we make within its four walls, Melford saw early on that aesthetic expression could both be built from and be a structure for profound emotions.
Over the course of a career spanning more than two decades, Melford has taken that lesson to heart, crafting a singular sound world that harmonizes the intricate and the expressive, the meditative and the assertive, the cerebral and the playful. Drawing inspiration from a vast spectrum of cultural and spiritual traditions and artistic disciplines, she has found a “spark of recognition” in sources as diverse as the writings of the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi and the Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano; the wisdom of Zen Buddhism and the Huichol Indians of Mexico; and the music of mentors like Jaki Byard, Don Pullen, and Henry Threadgill.
The latest incarnation of this ever-evolving cross-disciplinary dialogue is Language of Dreams, which will premiere in November 2013 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The multi-media work is inspired by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy, a history of the Americas told through indigenous myths and the accounts of European colonizers. The piece will combine music for Melford’s quintet Snowy Egret with narration by a multi-lingual actor, dance by Los Angeles-based choreographer Oguri, and video by Bay Area filmmaker David Szlasa.
While Language of Dreams is her most ambitious project to date, it is not the first time that Melford has constructed a piece from such a wealth of disciplines. In 2006, the Walker Arts Center premiered Knock on the Sky, a piece inspired by Albert Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” and Kobo Abe’s novel Woman in the Dunes, in which Melford collaborated with New York City–based choreographer/dancer Dawn Akemi Saito and Austrian architect Michael Haberz.
Snowy Egret, Melford’s latest working group, made its debut in 2012. The quintet comprises some of creative music’s most inventive and individual voices: trumpeter Ron Miles, guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Stomu Takeishi, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Melford’s spacious, contemplative, exploratory compositions have long attracted and almost demanded such forward-thinking artists. Her past ensembles have included Be Bread, with Cuong Vu, Ben Goldberg, Brandon Ross, Stomu Takeishi, and Matt Wilson; The Same River, Twice, with Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, Erik Friedlander, and Michael Sarin; Crush, with Takeishi, Vu, and Kenny Wolleson.
Melford also currently is one-third of the collective Trio M with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson; their most recent CD, The Guest House, was one of 2012’s most acclaimed releases. She also performs in the duo ::Dialogue:: with clarinetist Ben Goldberg and will release her first solo album in October 2013, a collection of work inspired by the paintings of the late visual artist Don Reich.
Melford’s musical evolution has long run in parallel with her spiritual search, a personal journey that has led her to Aikido, Siddha Yoga, and the wisdom traditions of the Huichol people of Mexico’s central highlands. Sonically, that quest is expressed via her wide-ranging palette, which expands from the piano to the harmonium and electronic keyboards or to amplifying barely audible sounds in the piano’s interior. Her playing can build from the blissful and lyrical to the intense and angular, with accents from Indian, African, Cuban and Middle Eastern musics or the cerebral abstraction of European and American jazz and classical experimentalism.
While Melford’s music continually reaches toward a state of transcendence, it still remains deeply rooted in the blues traditions she heard growing up in the Chicago area. In 1978, she first encountered violinist Leroy Jenkins, her introduction to the AACM, whose boundary-free, adventurous approach to jazz remains an influence. She would go on to study with Jenkins, together forming the collective trio Equal Interest with multireedist Joseph Jarman in 1997.
Melford moved to the east coast in 1982 and began performing in New York City’s thriving Downtown scene, making her recorded debut as a leader in 1990; she has since released more than twenty albums as a leader or co-leader and appeared on more than 40 releases as a side-person. In 2000, she spent a year in North India on a Fulbright scholarship, immersing herself in the region’s classical, devotional, and folk music. Melford relocated to the west coast in 2004, joining the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley as an associate professor of contemporary improvised music. There, she engages students in the theory and practice of improvisation, employing diverse creative strategies.
Her work has earned Melford some of the highest accolades in her field. In 2013 alone, she was named a Guggenheim Fellow and received the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Performing Artist Award and a Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts for her efforts to re-imagine the jazz program at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was also the winner of the 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music. She has been honored numerous times in DownBeat’s Critics Poll since 1991 and was nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association as Pianist of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and Composer of the Year in 2004.
Originally from Germany, Ingrid Laubrock resides in Brooklyn, NY. Between 1989 and 2009 she was active as a saxophonist and composer in London/UK.
She worked with: Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richards Abrams, Dave Douglas, Kenny Wheeler, Jason Moran, Tim Berne, William Parker, Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis, Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Luc Ex, Django Bates’ Human Chain, The Continuum Ensemble and many others.
Ingrid's main projects as a leader are Anti-House, Sleepthief, Ingrid Laubrock Septet and Ubatuba. Collaborations include Paradoxical Frog and Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Duo. She is a member of Anthony Braxton's Falling River Music Quartet, Nonet and 12+1tet, Tom Rainey Trio and Obbligato, Mary Halvorson Septet, Kris’ Davis Quintet, Nate Wooley’s Battle Pieces and Luc Ex’ Assemblée. Ingrid was one of the featured soloists in Anthony Braxton’s opera Trillium J.
Awards include the BBC Jazz Award for Innovation in 2004, a Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the Arts Foundation in 2006, the 2009 SWR German Radio Jazz Prize and the 2014 German Record Critics Quarterly Award. Commissions include Jammy Dodgers for jazz quintet and dancers (2006), Nonet music for Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2007, SWR New Jazz Meeting 2011 and "Vogelfrei", a piece for chamber orchestra (ACO/Tricentric Foundation).
She won Rising Star/soprano saxophone in the 2015 in the 'Downbeat Annual Critics Poll.
Ingrid was Improviser in Residence 2012 in the German city Moers. The post is created to introduce creative music into the city throughout the year. As part of this she led a regular improvisation ensemble and taught sound workshops in elementary schools.
Other teaching experiences include improvisation workshops at Towson University, CalArts, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Baruch College, University of Michigan, University of Newcastle and many others.
Nicole Mitchell is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as “Top Flutist of the Year” for the last four years (2010-2014). Mitchell’s music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such asBlack Unstoppable (Delmark, 2007), Awakening (Delmark, 2011), and Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12, 2008), which received commissioning support from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works.
Mitchell formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and has been a member since 1995. In recognition of her impact within the Chicago music and arts education communities, she was named “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2006 by the Chicago Tribune. With her ensembles, as a featured flutist and composer, Mitchell has been a highlight at festivals and art venues throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts (2011) and has been commissioned by Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra and Maggio Fiorentino Chamber Orchestra (Florence, Italy). In 2009, she created Honoring Grace: Michelle Obama for the Jazz Institute of Chicago. She has been a faculty member at the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, the Sherwood Flute Institute, Banff International Jazz Workshop and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and in magazines including Ebony, Downbeat, JazzIz, Jazz Times, Jazz Wise, andAmerican Legacy.
Nicole MItchell is currently a Professor of Music, teaching in "Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology," (ICIT) a new and expansively-minded graduate program at the University of California, Irvine. In November 2014, ICIT was approved for the unleashing of a new MA/PhD program, which will be offered starting fall 2015. Mitchell's recent composition,Flight for Freedom for Creative Flute and Orchestra, a Tribute to Harriet Tubman, premiered with the Chicago Composers’ Orchestra in December 2011 and was presented again with CCO in May 2014. She was also commisisoned by Chicago Sinfonietta for Harambee: Road to Victory, for Solo Flute, Choir and Orchestra in January 2012. Her latest commission was from the French Ministry of Culture and the Royaumont Foundation in October 2014, which supported the development and French tour of Beyond Black - a collaboration with kora master Ballake Sissoko, Black Earth Ensemble and friends. Currently Mitchell is preparing her next commission supported by the French American Jazz Exchange, entitled Moments of Fatherhood, featuring Black Earth Ensemble and the Parisian chamber group L'Ensemble Laborintus, to premiere at the Sons d'hiver Jazz Festival in late January 2015.
Among the first class of Doris Duke Artists (2012), Mitchell works to raise respect and integrity for the improvised flute, to contribute her innovative voice to the jazz legacy, and to continue the bold and exciting directions that the AACM has charted for decades. With contemporary ensembles of varying instrumentation and size (from solo to orchestra), Mitchell’s mission is to celebrate the power of endless possibility by “creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar and the unknown.” She is endorsed by Powell flutes.
John Hébert, bassist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he first began to study double bass with Bill Huntington. John attended Loyola University of New Orleans where he received a full scholarship. After two years of performing with many of New Orleans greatest musicians and performing at various clubs including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival he moved to the New York tri-state area to attend William Paterson University where he continued his studies under bassist, Rufus Reid and received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance.
Since graduating in 1995, John has lived in the New York City area and established himself as a highly sought after bassist. He has worked along side world famous artists such as Andrew Hill, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Motian, Joe Maneri, Mary Havorson, Tomasz Stanko, David Liebman, Uri Caine, Greg Osby, Bill Stewart, Marc Copland, Fred Hersch, Toots Thielemans, Maria Schneider, and many others.In recent years, he has taken on the role of bandleader of various projects. His group Byzantine Monkey, released their first CD in June 2009 on the Firehouse 12 label. It was reviewed in Downbeat and received 4 stars. “On his first album as a leader he displays a sonic vision that’s all his own,” says Peter Margarsak. In 2010, John Hébert Trio released Spiritual Lover on the Clean Feed label to very positive reviews. According to Stuart Broomer, “it’s a trio of genuinely equal parts and plays music of great melodic strength.” In 2011, John formed his Rambling Confessions quartet which has performed at well known clubs such as The Stone and Jazz Gallery.
He is also named in Downbeat’s 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Critics Poll as a “Rising Star Acoustic Bassist.” Most recently in 2011, John won the poll as “Rising Star Acoustic Bassist.” From 2001 until Andrew Hill’s passing in 2007, John worked with Mr. Hill in various ensembles. John is also featured on Andrew Hill’s last Blue Note release, “Time Lines” which was awarded “Record of the Year” by Downbeat’s Jazz Critics Poll in 2006. John has also performed around the world at festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tampere Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Moers Jazz Festival, Ear Shot Jazz Festival and San Francisco Jazz Festival. He can also be heard in some of New York City’s most renowned venues such as The Village Vanguard, Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Birdland and Iridium.
In 2011 John was awarded the French American Jazz Exchange Grant from the French Cultural Institute and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for his work with Parisian pianist Benoit Delbecq and New York drummer Gerald Cleaver. The follow up to the trio’s first recording was released in January of 2014. The album entitled Floodstage on Clean Feed records has already gained much attention since its release.2015 saw the latest release by John on the Sunnyside record label entitled “Rambling Confessions”. It features vocalist Jen Shyu, pianist Andy Milne and drummer Billy Drummond. The record has received much praise including 4.5 stars in Downbeat.