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"Positootly" - John Beasley's MONK'estra Septet in GRAMMY-nominated "Positootly", featuring Darryl Jones, bass; Gene Coye, drums; Bob Sheppard, sax; Tom Luer, sax; Lemar Gullary, trombone; Dontae Winslow, trumpet, rapper 

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"Letter to Herbie" - John Beasley (piano), Bennie Maupin (saxophone), Buster Williams (bass), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums). 

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John Beasley is available to conduct master classes or workshops with solo or small ensemble playing.

Workshop/Clinic Topics:

  • Composition
  • Improvisation
  • Arrangement
  • Modern Jazz Harmony
  • Solo or Small Ensemble Playing
  • Functioning in the Rhythm Section
  • Writing for Television, Commercials, and Film
  • Electronic Studio Technology
  • Record Producer
  • Vocal Producer
  • Contemporary Singing
  • Musical Director
  • Preparation for Auditions and Performing
  • Bollywood Music and raga jazz

As a clinician, Beasley can share his experiences and discuss:

  • Imparting lessons he has learned from being a solo artist and musical director, and playing in the rhythm section backing up many of the world’s greatest artists, including:
    • Freddie Hubbard – The role of the rhythm section; playing in the “pocket”; comping; the necessity of maintaining the high energy levels demanded by Hubbard
    • Chaka Khan – Playing in an R&B rhythm section – simple and funky
    • Steely Dan – The role of a musical director; learning interesting and unusual song forms; rehearsal techniques; and voicings
    • Miles Davis – Phrasing, form, and contemporary jazz harmony
    • Carly Simon, Dianne Reeves, Queen Latifah, Kenny Rankin – Accompanying a vocalist
    • Thomas Newman (Spectre, Skyfall, Finding Nemo, Shawshank Redemption, Wall-E) – Film scoring techniques; incorporating samples and loops with orchestra.
  • Developing a unique sound – method and tools.
  • Composing and editing original material.
  • Playing in different styles, be it jazz, rock and roll, jazz, or R&B.
  • Production techniques using PRO TOOLS, synthesizer orchestration, sequencing, vocal comping, drum programming.
  • Writing for TV commercials, overdubs and tracking for records, film scores, emphasizing practical workable methods.

Beasley covers all of these topics under four general themes: Feel, Sound, Form, and Phrase.

John Beasley


“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.” –Los Angeles Times

GRAMMY®-nominated recording artist and Emmy-nominated Music Director John Beasley’s music career spans three decades with credits that read 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, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Lee Ritenour, Kenny Garrett, AR Rahman, Baaba Mal, Jon Hassell, Ivan Lins, Sergio Mendes, Yosvany Terry, Ruthie Foster, Dave Gruisin, even a stint with James Brown, to name a few.


  • MONK’estra, Vol 2      John Beasley conductor/arranger- Mack Avenue Records (Sept 2017)
  • MONK’estra, Vol 1      John Beasley conductor/arranger- Mack Avenue Records (2016) double-Grammy nominated
  • 3 Brave Souls   John Beasley, Ndugu Chancler, DarrylJones -  BFM Jazz
  • Positootly!    Jeff Watts, Bennie Maupin, James Genus -        Resonance Records Grammy nominated
  • Letter to Herbie     Jeff Watts, Roy Hargrove, ChristianMcBride - Resonance Records       


  • Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Blue House Orchestra (Sweden), Russian Jazz Orchestra, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, upcoming: HR Big Band (Frankfurt), college big bands, including Juilliard, Rutgers, U of Miami/Frost, Manhattan School of Music playing the music of MONK’estra


  • International Jazz Day galas: Havana (2017), White House (DC) 2016, Paris 2015 and 2012, Osaka 2014, Istanbul 2013
  • Dianne Reeves Many Rivers Civil Rights concert 2016
  • Thelonious Monk Institute Tribute galas: Quincy Jones 2015, Bill Clinton 2014, George Duke 2013, 25th Anniversary Gala Tribute to Aretha Franklin 2012
  • Tribute to George Duke, at Playboy Jazz Festival and Capitol Jazz Festival
  • Steely Dan Art Crimes world tour
  • Queen Latifah’s Travelin’ Lite 40-city US Tour
  • Carly Simon Aboard the Queen Mary PBS TV piano and conductor


  • 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
  • Award-winning TV series: Fame, Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek: Next Generation
  • Commercials: Oldsmobile, Blockbuster, Hyundai, Toyota, Dodge and 100+


  • International Jazz Day in Cuba - 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
  • American Idol Lead Arranger FOX 2015 -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


  • Rhianna VMA performance 2016, Robert Glasper performance African American Museum 2016 Opening Concert ABC TV
  • TV shows: American Idol (2005-2016), The Tonight Show, VHI Divas special, The Winner Is, America’s Got Talent, Singing Bee, Duets, Search for the Next Pussy Cat Doll


  • 2 GRAMMY® nominations, MONK’estra Vol 1, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Arrangement, 2017
  • GRAMMY® nomination, Dr.Um Peter Erskine+John Beasley, Best Instrumental Jazz album, 2017
  • Emmy nomination, Jazz at the White House, Best Musical Direction, 2016
  • GRAMMY® nomination, Positootly!, Best Instrumental Jazz album, 2011


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 Juilliard, 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 Patitucci, and Steve Taviglione.

Miles Davis call and Recording Career
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, and LACMA.