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John Yao
For over a decade, John Yao’s dept talent as a trombonist, composer and arranger
have helped cement his place on the New York City jazz scene. Yao’s lyrical soloing
and expressive round tone combined with his with a creative hunger for exploring
the boundaries of harmony and rhythm in his compositions/arrangements has
established him as a unique musical talent. All About Jazz says Yao is “an evolving
artist who continues to grow at a rapid pace.”

As a trombonist, he has worked extensively as a sideman for Grammy award
winning ensembles such as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Afro Latin Jazz
Orchestra, and has also performed with Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, Danilo
Perez, Chris Potter and Kurt Elling among others. Yao is the leader of two working
Bands, John Yao Quintet and John Yao & His 17 piece Instrument. Both projects
Feature his adventurous compositions. Downbeat called his most recent Quintet
release Presence# (See Tao Recordings) “Yao’s most searching release to date, the
album is marked by greater openness and ensemble elasticity.” Midwest Record says
the John Yao & His 17 piece Instrument 2015 release Flip9Flop (See Tao Recordings)
is “a must set for big band fans that want to hear something that takes the form into
the future, this blows the ears open in a mighty way.”

As a composer, Yao has been commissioned to write works for professional ensembles such as the Grammy Award winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, Band of Bones, Luis Bonilla’s Talking too Big Band, HGM Big Band as well as writing for his big band, John Yao & His 17 piece Instrument.
His works have been performed by college and high school ensembles including Temple University, Indiana University, Iowa University, University of North Carolina, New Jersey City University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Binghamton Unicersity, HGM Orkestar in Zagreb, Croatia, New Trier High School and Townsend Harris High School. He was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers workshop in 2012 under the guidance of Jim McNeely and Mike Holober.

Both of Yao’s bands have held residencies at popular New York City venues such as the ShapeShifter Lab and Terraza7 café. He also founded the Big Band & Beyond Concert Series featuring the JYI17 permiering new for big band at each concert. The series goal is to further new works in the genre and to offer a broad view of the possibilities of jazz composition.

John has also established him as an in demand educator in New York and beyond. He teaches at Hunter College High School and is an active guest artist and soloist at colleges and universities around the United States and abroad.

Trombonist John Yao leads lineup that consists of Alto Saxophonist Billy Drewes, Tenor Saxophonist Tim Armacost, Bassist Peter Brendler and Drummer Mark Ferber.