“Steinway means family to me. My grandfather and great-uncle owned Steinway dealerships in Arkansas and Texas, so I grew up playing on the showroom pianos in their stores. Steinways have a touch and tone that is a signature. No other pianos I have played on have this feel and sound. Steinway means family legacy and artistry to me.”
Nine-time GRAMMY®- and Emmy-nominated recording artist John Beasley is easily one of the most versatile musicians in jazz. A far-ranging pianist, composer, and arranger, he has performed with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Dianne Reeves, Steely Dan, Ivan Lins, and Christian McBride, among many others.
He leads a multi-faceted career as a bandleader, first-call keyboardist, and composer/arranger for bands and film and television projects. He is the Music Director for the Herbie Hancock (formerly Monk) Jazz Institute’s International Jazz Day global concerts. In 2016, he earned an Emmy nomination for “Jazz at the White House” for Best Musical Direction (ABC TV). Beasley has produced albums for Portuguese singer Maria Mendes, Japanese singer Chie Ayado, Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry, and was music director for Indian composer AR Rahman’s (Slumdog Millionaire) global tour.
In his smashing 15-piece big band, MONK’estra, Beasley reimagines Monk’s compositions with an eye to the future that pays loving tribute to the master’s music while infusing it with contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun. The feel and sound of MONK’estra captures the 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 expansive work as a composer-arranger extends beyond jazz, with many television credits including Star Trek: TNG, and Fame. His work in films include credits in blockbuster movies such as 1917, James Bond’s Spectre and Skyfall, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Wall E, Shawshank Redemption, and the upcoming Steven Soderberg, “Let them all Talk” featuring his big band MONK’estra.
When in 2012, Herbie Hancock championed UNESCO to appoint a day to celebrate jazz every year, Beasley was appointed the Music Director for the global gala concert. He has since directed the concerts in Paris, Havana, St Petersburg, Istanbul, Osaka, Melbourne, and the notable 2016 gala at the White House, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The ABC broadcast earned Beasley an Emmy nomination in 2016.
Beasley got his experience as music director (MD) first with Sergio Mendes at the start of his career. Since then, he has directed tours for Queen Latifah, Steely Dan (Art Crimes), A.R. Rahman (Jai Ho), along with tribute concerts for Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins, and for the Hancock Institute’s competition gala tributes to Quincy Jones, Bill Clinton, Aretha Franklin, Terrence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Wayne Shorter. He worked as MD for TV specials/series, including Sports Illustrated 50 Years of Beautiful and musical competitions Duets with John Legend, Sing Your Face Off, American Idol (associate MD ushering Carrie Underwood to victory), among other shows.
John Beasley is a Steinway Artist