The acclaimed pianist expands the classic jazz tradition adding contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun.
John Beasley leads a smashing quartet playing music from his four-time GRAMMY nominated albums and original songs from his upcoming 2020 release MONK’estra plays John Beasley. The arrangements capture the free spirit of Thelonious Monk’s singular style with its off-beat melodies, humor, strange beauty and unbounded swing in fresh arrangements flavored with hints of New Orleans, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, contemporary, and atmospheric rhythms and colors. Beasley’s original songs showcase his wildly imaginative, modern and distinct voice that has been influenced by performing with his mentors and peers, from Miles Davis, Carly Simon, Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, A.R. Rahman, Queen Latifah, and even one gig with James Brown.
“Beasley takes Monk’s sturdy tunes on a joyride for MONK’estra.” – The New Yorker
Hear the music
John Beasley’s all-star band— harmonica player Grégoire Maret, drummer Terreon Gully, and bassist Tabari Lake — have played with the who’s who in music: Sting, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Me’Shell NdegeOcello, Cassandra Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Prince and many others. From start to finish, the John Beasley MONK’estra Quartet will bring you into their experience of contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun.
GRAMMY® + Emmy Award-nominated Pianist, Composer, Arranger. In the course of three decades, Mack Avenue recording artist John Beasley has carved an enviable reputation – or actually, two reputations. First and foremost, he is an uncommonly versatile, unerringly exciting pianist who has performed with such music icons as Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard – playing in the bands of both these trumpet legends while still in his 20s – as well as with Dianne Reeves, Steely Dan, Chaka Khan, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride (and even, for one night, with James Brown).
Beasley is also an accomplished composer and a distinctive arranger who works regularly in film and television, earning five GRAMMY nominations and an Emmy nod along the way. He has worked extensively on soundtracks, primarily for 30 years of famed film composer Thomas Newman, including the James Bond hits Spectre and Skyfall, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and the upcoming 1917.
Beasley’s arranging skills find no better showcase than on the albums MONK’estra (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), each of which received two GRAMMY nominations. His next album showcasing his original compositions will be released in May 2020. MONK’estra has toured in more than 60 global stages, and for the first time, his quartet will perform in the Middle East, in the UAE in March 2020.
Beasley continues to balance a multi-faceted career that includes radio host for a show on arranging called “Flipped” on SiriusXM Real Jazz; producing albums with Weather Report’s drummer Peter Erskine; a Fado jazz project with Maria Mendes and the Metropole Orchestra, several CDs with legendary guitarist Lee Ritenour, among others. He is Guest Arranger and Conductor for several European big bands featuring vocalists: Jazzmeia Horn, Jose James, Somi, and Ruthie Foster, along with upcoming Tributes to Chick Corea and Duke Ellington.
In 2011, UNESCO designated April 30 as International Jazz Day to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Beasley was handpicked to be the Music Director for the gala concerts hosted by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formally called the Thelonious Monk Institute). The inaugural concert was in Paris and has since been in Instanbul, Osaka, St Petersburg, Melbourne, Havana, Washington, DC. In 2020, it will be held in Cape Town.
The 2016 gala was hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. It was broadcast on ABC-TV, earning Beasley an Emmy nomination for Best Musical Direction. www.JohnBeasleyMusic.com
Grammy winner, Swiss-born harmonica player and composer, has emerged as a unique and compelling new voice across a wide spectrum of the modern jazz world. That his chosen instrument – the harmonica – is a relative rarity in the genre is one element in his singular sound, but far from the whole explanation. After all, the extensive list of heavy-hitters who have enlisted him for their own projects is unparalleled: Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, and Marcus Miller are some of his most prominent employers, none of whom have the patience to employ novelty for novelty’s sake.
His guest appearances on recording sessions and concert stages expand that list to even more jaw-dropping proportions: Prince, Sting, Elton John, Jimmy Scott, Dianne Reeves, Toots Thielemans, Richard Bona, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tito Puente, Kurt Elling, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Charlie Hunter, Youssou N’dour, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Pete Seeger, David Sanborn and George Benson have all made use of Maret’s unmatched palette of color.
Terreon “Tank” Gully
Grammy winning, musician extraordinaire, Terreon Gully is one of the most influential artists of his generation. Widely recognized for his creativity, versatility and authenticity, Terreon is in high demand. His innovative and distinct sound has inspired artists such as Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride as well as Stefon Harris to make him a member of their bands.
Terreon has mastered a variety of musical genres. He performs, tours and records extensively with a variety of artists. From jazz legends and modern masters to the hottest hip hop icons, Terreon has worked with the best: Kurt Elling, David Sanborn, Nicholas Payton, Kenny Barron, the Stones Project, Sting, the Benny Green Trio, Queen Latifa, Yerba Buena, Charlie Hunter, Abbey Lincoln, Marc Cary, Russell Gunn, Lizz Wright, Jacky Terrasson, Eldar, Me’Shell NdegeOcello, Lauryn Hill, John Beasley’s MONK’estra, Mos Def, and Common as well as a host of other artists. In addition to live performances, Terreon is also known for his exceptional work in the studio, producing and recording for CDs, films, and commercials.
A native of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, Tabari Lake grew up admiring the bassists in the local bands that would play during carnival festivities. He began his musical education at the local public school, first on steel pan, then clarinet, and finally finding his voice in the electric bass. Lake’s continued musical growth led him to relocate to the mainland to continue his education and dive deep into classical, and jazz studies. Lake quickly learned that he existed in a dichotomy: both jazz and calypso, both classical and hip hop, both foreigner and American.
Tabari has bachelor degrees of Bass Performance and Contemporary Writing & Production and a master’s degree in Contemporary Performance (Production Concentration) from Berklee College of Music. He has performed with artists such as Terence Blanchard, Dion Parson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joey Alexander, Tia Fuller, Sting, and John Beasley.
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