John Hart

A fixture on the New York music scene for the last 25 years, guitarist John Hart has distinguished himself both as a recording artist and bandleader and as a sideman whose credits span the spectrum of the many genres of jazz. From mainstream to free improvisation, blues to funk, John’s ease at negotiating the demands of any idiom is evidenced by a look at some of his musical associations. Known for his longtime tenure with Hammond B3 organ master Jack McDuff (a great judge of guitarists whose previous plectrists include George Benson, Pat Martino and Mark Whitfield), John has also worked with cutting edge and rising young stars such as Brian Blade, Larry Goldings, Chris Potter and Javon Jackson. John is a composer of merit with 7 CDs as a leader for prestigious labels Blue Note and Concord. Add this to the 80 some CDs he has appeared on as a sideman, performances at many of the major jazz festivals and clubs internationally, television appearances and radio shows, and it’s obvious to see why John Hart has become a familiar name with jazz fans worldwide.

John Hart was born on June 15, 1961 in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, grew up in Florida and began playing guitar when he was 12. While still in high school in his home town of Sarasota John was already gaining experience as a professional musician backing artists such as Steve Allen, Phyllis Diller, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Frankie Laine. His first forays into improvisation were playing locally with rock bands but John was bitten by the jazz bug when he was 16 after hearing Miles Davis’ recording of “Porgy and Bess”. John's interest in jazz flourished at the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor's degree in music in 1983.

After graduating from college John toured internationally with Latin pop star Jose Luis Rodriguez before moving to New York City in the summer of 1984. Within a brief time he gained a strong reputation for his adaptability and distinctive sound. Since arriving in New York John has performed and/or recorded with Jack McDuff, Terumasa Hino, Jimmy Smith, Lou Donaldson,, James Moody, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jon Hendricks, Brian Blade, Javon Jackson,, Bob Belden, Chris Potter, Larry Goldings, The Maria Schneider Orchestra, Rick Margitza, Joey Defranscesco, Bob Berg, Randy Brecker, Harvie Swartz, Jaki Byard Nick Brignola, Ira Sullivan, Mike Manieri, Jim Pepper, Bill Bruford, Bernard Purdie,  Clark Terry, David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford, Nnenna Freelon. He has also appeared on a number of pop recordings, sound tracks for television including HBO’s Sex in City, numerous jingles and in the late 1980’s was a member of the house band at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. John is an endorser for D’Addario strings and has been on their artist’s roster for the past 14 years.

In 1990 John’s debut recording as a leader One Down was released by Blue Note records and was well received by critics and fans alike. This was followed up in 1992 by the trio recording Trust and precipitated the formation of the John Hart Quartet which featured the young saxophone wonder Chris Potter. This band was together for 7 years, frequently touring and eventually being documented on the Concord Jazz release Bridges in 1997. Since 2000 John has toured with the John Hart Trio and they just released in September 2006 their third CD for Hep records, Standards-Green and Blue, which features the trio with vibist Joe Locke as special guest. 

Along with his busy schedule of performing, touring and recording John is quite active as a music educator and has been a clinician at many universities and music schools across the States. He also teaches in New York City and has been on the faculty of the acclaimed 92nd Street YM-YWHA for the past 16 years.