John Colianni

John Colianni was born in Washington, D.C., and first heard Jazz when he was a child. He grew up listening to swing-era LP reissues (Ellington, Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Armstrong, etc.). In his parents’ house. John was 12 years old when Teddy Wilson performed in Washington. A Duke Ellington performance also made an impression. THE QUINTET John Colianni Quintet was formed in 2006 by John Colianni, who wanted an outlet for his high-speed piano improvisations. The group released its first CD, “Johnny Chops”, in July 2007. LES PAUL Les Paul offered John the position of piano in his group in August 2003. Les hadn’t had a pianist in his group since the 1950s. He sought advice from Bucky Pizzarelli when he was looking for the right candidate. Les Paul’s autobiography “Les Paul: in His Own Words”, a recent biography, describes John’s playing style as well as his musical contributions to the newly re-vamped Les Paul Quartet. John can also be seen on the PBS documentary “Les Paul: Chasing Sound.” PIANO INSTRUCTION John’s parents sought a piano teacher because of his keyboard skills. Les Karr was a well-known pianist and teacher in the area. Weekly lessons started in eighth grade when John was 14. Les Karr studied under Teddy Wilson at Juilliard, New York. Dick Hyman was also Les’s first cousin. John learned from Les about technique. He also introduced Mathe’ System studies to improve digital dexterity. This system maximizes speed and high-velocity piano play. John is well-known for his “fleet” moves and often mentions the importance of these exercises. AROUND WASHINGTON John started playing the piano professionally in high school. The Washington, D.C. jazz scene included a variety of jazz clubs including The Pigfoot, Mr. Y’s Gold Room, One Step Down, Blues Alley, Blues Alley, The Bayou, The Famous Ballroom, Frankie Condon’s, Rockville, and many other venues. These were John’s first performances venues. He played alongside veteran D.C. musicians like Keter Betts (Rockville), who recruited John to the revue “Jazz Stars Of The Future.” John was still in tenth-grade when George Ross, Director of Jazz Studies, recruited him to join the University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble. THE DUKE A landmark that set the stage for John’s interest in music many years ago. Duke Ellington, the most famous musician from Washington D.C., visited town with his orchestra. John, a young man, was captivated by Ellington’s performance and presented him with his autobiography “Music Is My Mistress,” which he signed with a personal message. John is a big fan of Ellington. Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson are just a few of the others. TOURING WITH LIONEL HAMTON John Coliannis moved to Jersey Shore in his senior year of high school. John was discovered by Carlton Drinkard, a former accompanist of Lady Day Billie Holiday. Drinkard, also known as “Piano Man” and the critically acclaimed film “Lady Sings The Blues”, assembled John’s trio and taught him how to create new arrangements and perform before live audiences. John, then 19, visited Lionel Hampton’s backstage in an Atlantic City casino. Hampton offered him a place in Hampton’s orchestra. He traveled with Hampton for three years and recorded with Hampton, along with other band members, including Arnett Cobb, Paul Jeffrey and Tom Chapin as well as drummers Frankie Dunlop and Oliver Jackson, Duffy Jackson, Arvell Shaw and bassists George Duvivier. Hampton’s account of his relationship with John can be found on the Reviews/News page at THELONIUS Monk Piano Competition. John won a cash prize in Thelonius Monk’s first ever piano competition in 1987. WITH MELTORME’ John performed a wide variety of gigs in the 1980s, including one with Woody Allen’s New Orleans-inspired band. Allen’s band was a regular fixture at Michael’s Pub in New York. Mel Torme’ was also there. Torme’ heard John’s recording through the venue’s audio system and immediately hired John as his piano player – without any audition. From early 1991 to mid- 1995, John was a Torme’ employee. He toured and recorded six albums. “Acoustic modernist, absorbing the pianism Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson.” – Jazziz PLAYERS FEATURED IN JOHN’S CURRENT LP JUSTIN LEES Justin is a new face in the jazz scene, his guitar playing is marked by a bluesy, infectiously swinging phrasing, and a distinct tone. Justin’s solos are influenced by greats like Charlie Christian and T.Bone Walker. He was a Washington, D.C. native who played professionally in the area before moving to New York City. YOSHIKI MIURA Yoshiki is a Berklee College of Music grad. His funky, jazzy sound injects R into the New York City area for over 16 years.

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