The Artistry of… John Beasley

There’s nothing like high praise. Here’s some for John Beasley from the Los Angeles Times: “The one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis reflects 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.”

Beasley has been creating by recreating, arranging and enhancing music of the best from early on. His career came into full bloom in his teens, writing arrangements in junior high school. Music was woven deep in the Beasley family, with many instruments played. A recipient of that diversity, he became well-versed in many instruments — an advantage for his arranging and composition.

In his twenties, he was writing and arranging for major film and television houses including Paramount, Disney and MGM, with work on shows including Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek and Fame. An impressive selfless act of artistry is his writing music for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders’ videos pro bono.

Beasley’s MONK’estra projects tackle the genius and complexities of the great Thelonious Monk in the form of a big band, with a fearless respect for the music. That fearless respect for the music defines John Beasley.

The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.