Born and raised in the rural tobacco country of North Carolina, now living in New York, John has brought a body of rich Southern folkloric material into his writing, leavening it with a finely wrought jazz sensibility. This is apparent on his recordings Roots, Branches and Leaves, One Foot In The Swamp, By A Thread, and most recently, the sousaphone-driven Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow and Puppet Mischief. John has spent significant time in the musical cauldron of New Orleans. He has studied and performed with Ellis Marsalis, toured extensively in Singapore and other Far Eastern ports of call, and worked as a member of bands led by Mos Def, John Patitucci, Jason Marsalis, Todd Sickafoose, Charlie Hunter, Bilal, and more. He co-produced the music for the popular children’s book series, Baby Loves Jazz, and he has produced three long-form narrative collaborations with playwright Andy Bragen: Dreamscapes, The Ice Siren, and Mobro. His latest CD, It's You I Like, features the music of Mister Rogers and Elliott Smith.
John is an expert juggler, an art he perfected while working at Carowinds as a 16 year old. His past took a tragic turn when he caught his beloved juggling mentor embezzling money from the amusement park. Before he could turn him over to the authorities, young Johnny was discovered, beaten and left for dead. This incident spurred John to launch a one-man crusade against crime as Le Jongleur, the World's Greatest Juggler, but his career as a costumed vigilante came to an abrupt halt when he abruptly gave up and decided he would play saxophone instead.
As part of our fundraising efforts for our upcoming recording, Brooklyn Babylon, we are offering you the opportunity to sponsor a Secret Society musician — if you would like to sponsor John's appearance on our new album, or lend your support at any level, please visit our Kickstarter page.
MUSICIANS AVAILABLE FOR SPONSORSHIP: Erica von Kleist • Rob Wilkerson • Sam Sadigursky • John Ellis • Josh Sinton • Seneca Black • Tom Goehring • Matt Holman • Nadje Noordhuis • Ryan Keberle• James Hirschfeld • Sebastian Noelle • Gordon Webster • Matt Clohesy • Jon Wikan