GRAMMY® Award-nominated and Mack Avenue recording artist John Beasley is a far-ranging pianist, composer, and arranger who’s performed with music icons from Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, Dianne Reeves and Steely Dan, Marcus Miller and Christian McBride, Chaka Khan to even one stint with James Brown.
Beasley is easily one of the most versatile musicians balancing a multi-faceted career as a bandleader directing various combos and now his big band MONK’estra.
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.
MONK’estra is a smashing big band that captures the spirit of Thelonious Monk’s singular music – the off-beat melodies and humor, strange beauty and unbounded swing in fresh arrangements flavored with New Orleans spirit, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban rhythms and atmospheric colors.
Critics have called it “some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory.”
John Beasley gets his best ideas using two tools: his iPhone and a pair of walking shoes. Both were essential while composing his Grammy-nominated album “MONK’estra, Vol. 2”. Beasley, would take breaks to take long walks. Suddenly, a song’s complete architecture would appear, which he would sing into his phone to transcribe later.
MONK’estra re-imagines Thelonious Monk’s compositions with an eye to the future. Beasley leads contemporary big bands who look to pay loving tribute to the master’s music while infusing it with contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun.
LA Times jazz critic Bill Kohlhaasee describes Beasley’s music and playing as “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.”