JOHN BEASLEY. LETTER TO HERBIE.
John Beasley is an American composer, pianist, producer, and arranger who has recorded and performed with musicians such as Miles Davis, Steely Dan, Chaka Khan, James Brown, Spice Girls, Dianne Reeves, Ry Cooder, Chick Corea and Sérgio Mendes, Freddie Hubbard, John Patitucci, Queen Latifah, and Ivan Lins.
Declining an oboe scholarship from the Juilliard, Beasley went on to tour and record with Miles Davis, Steely Dan, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Baaba Maal, Queen Latifah, Christian McBride and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Chaka Khan, James Brown, and John Pattituci to name a few. Recognizing Beasley's talent for composing and arranging, major recording artists have added Beasley's original sound and music to their projects.
At 24, Beasley started writing music for Paramount, Disney, and MGMs television shows, including Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek, and Fame. He also wrote the Touchstone TV logo, which is still used today. His first brush with Hollywood films was as a pianist playing on film scores for film luminaries such as Thomas Newman, Dave Grusin, Alan Silvestri, and Carmine Coppola in box office hits such as WALL-E", "Finding Nemo, Erin Brockovich, The Godfather III, A Bug's Life, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He composes pro bono for films and podcasts for Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders. Along the way, Beasley has written award-winning commercials for ad agencies in the US and Germany for over 20 years. While touring with Miles Davis, Beasley was inspired to release his first of seven solo recordings.
Beasley, continues to juggle his studio work on hit reality/game shows such as American Idol, Pussycat Dolls Present:, America's Got Talent, and Singing Bee, along with touring as Musical Director for Queen Latifah, conducting workshops, playing on TV/Films, producing other artists, and writing new music.
His eighth album, Letter to Herbie, a tribute to 2008 Grammy-winner Herbie Hancock, featuring Christian McBride, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Roy Hargrove, was released in April 2008 and has already topped the Jazz Music Charts. In 2009, he released Positootly!, which went on to receive a Grammy nomination for best instrumental jazz album. In 2010 he appeared in a Web-TV simulcast.
In 2012, Beasley has formed a new band, 3 Brave Souls, with other Miles Davis alumni bassist Darryl Jones (with Davis for 1984s Decoy and '85s You're Under Arrest; and drummer Ndugu Chancler (who played with Davis in the early 1970s) that released their premier self-titled record on the BFM Digital record label. An early review of this old-style '70s funk, jazz and roots music describe the album as "tangy, ass-wiggling funk...a groove so deep you could fall right in". The pianist also acts as Music Director for the ABC hit TV show and singing competition, Duets.  He will return to the role of music director for a new ABC singing show "Sing Your Face Off" based off Endemol's "Your Face Sounds Familiar" airing in 2013.
In 2013, Beasley realized a long held dream, forming a 17-piece big band called MONK'estra. MONK'estra captures the spirit of Monk's unique quirkiness, offbeat accents, punchy dissonances, in fresh arrangements. Veteran jazz critic Don Heckman described Beasley's big band and his talent as "extraordinary orchestrating abilities, imaginative soloing from players: a net result of some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory."
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