About this Artist
John Beasley formed a smashing 15-piece big band in 2013 and called it MONK’estra. The music from the first two MONK’estra albums focused on Thelonious Monk’s music reimagined by Beasley for 21st Century listeners.
After the 3rd concert in Los Angeles, long-time jazz critic Don Heckman described his concert experience as “Some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory.” Mack Avenue Records signed John Beasley’s MONK’estra for a 3-record deal. MONK’estra Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 earned four GRAMMY nominations in 2016 and 2017.
The next album MONK’estra plays John Beasley will mainly feature Beasley’s original compositions. Guest artists include John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta, Joey DeFrancesco, Hubert Laws, Grégoire Maret, and introducing pre-eminent opera singer Jubilant Sykes singing in gospel style Come Sunday. MONK’estra #3 will be released in October 2020.
Beasley’s MONK’estra band has performed in over 70+ concerts around the world, including the Hollywood Bowl, SFJAZZ, Dizzy’s Ronnie Scotts, Blue Note Tokyo, and jazz festivals in Monterey, Berlin, Detroit, Rotterdam’s North Sea, Chicago, Romania, and Sweden to name a few.
MONK’estra has become the on-call big band for various projects, including the film score for an upcoming Steven Soderbergh’s movie Let them All Talk with Meryl Streep. It was also invited to play at the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute’s Competition Gala Concert at the Dolby Theatre; the 2019 Ivan Lins Journey to Brazil concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and a Tribute concert to Kenny Burrell at the Ford Ampitheatre.
For Charlie Parker’s Centennial project Bird Lives @ 100 which is being produced, conducted, and arranged by John Beasley and Magnus Lindgren MONK’estra will join the Hollywood Bowl stage and perform with a string section to celebrate Parker’s genius.