John Patitucci was born in Brooklyn, New York and began playing the electric bass at age 10, performing and composing at age 12, and at age 15, started playing the acoustic bass. He quickly moved from playing soul and rock to blues, jazz and classical music. His eclectic tastes have always caused him to explore all types of music as a player and a composer.
John studied classical bass at San Francisco State University and Long Beach State University, and then continued his career in Los Angeles as a studio musician and a jazz artist. As a studio musician, John has played on countless albums with artists such as B. B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, Norah Jones, Was Not Was, Dave Grusin, Natalie Cole, Bon Jovi, Sting, Queen Latifah and Carly Simon. In 1986, John was voted by his peers in the studios as the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences MVP on Acoustic Bass.
As a performer, John has played throughout the world with his own band, and with jazz luminaries Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Randy Brecker, Fred- die Hubbard, Tony Williams, Hubert Laws, Hank Jones, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Kenny Werner and scores of others. Some of the many pop and Brazilian artists he has played with include Sting, Aaron Neville, James Taylor, John Mayer, Paul Simon, Natalie Cole, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Milton Nascimiento, Astrud and Joao Gilberto, Airto and Flora Purim, Ivan Lins, Joao Bosco and Dori Caymmi.
John has also worked with film composers Jerry Goldsmith, Ry Cooder, James Newton Howard, Dave Grusin, Henry Mancini, John Williams, Jeff Beal, Mark Isham, Michel Colombier, Carter Burwell and Howard Shore and many others, and recorded on countless film and television scores.
Since 1985, his work with Chick Corea brought him worldwide acclaim and put him at the forefront of the jazz world. As a member of Chick Corea’s Elektric Band and Akoustic Band, John was featured on several recordings and world tours. He went on to record six solo recordings for GRP Records and seven solo recordings with Concord Jazz. His first solo recording, ""John Patitucci,"" went to number one on the Billboard Jazz charts.
In 2015, John and his wife, cellist and manager Sachi Patitucci, started their own record label, Three Faces Records, and have released two recordings, ""Brooklyn"" (2015) and ""Soul of the Bass"" (2019). John arranged and produced all of his own records, as well as those of other artists. In 2017, as part of one of their vinyl box set seasons, the Newvelle Record label released ""Irmãos de Fé, a Brazilian influenced album featuring the John Patitucci Trio with Yotam Silberstein on guitar and Rogerio Boccato on percussion. John plans a digital release of this recording in 2020.
John’s own recordings, and his work with Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter, have garnered him over 20 Grammy Award nominations and, so far, 4 Grammy Awards. He is again nominated this year for a 2019 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album.
In 2000, John began touring again with the legendary Wayne Shorter. The Wayne Shorter Quartet, featuring Danilo Perez on piano and Brian Blade on drums, has received worldwide acclaim for its performances and recordings. Their live recording, ""Footprints Live,"" was nominated for a Grammy in 2001, and a studio recording, ""Alegria,"" won a Grammy in 2003. Another CD, ""Beyond the Sound Barrier,"" won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Album in 2005. In 2006, the Quartet won the 2006 Jazz Journalists Award for Best Small Ensemble. And in 2018, the Wayne Shorter Quartet won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for ""Emanon."" ""Emanon"" was also named Best Jazz Album of the Year in Downbeat Magazine for 2019.
After exploring many different writing styles on his own records and those of Chick Corea’s, John continued to compose for many mediums. In 1994 he was commissioned to write a piece for six-string electric bass and string orchestra for the Italian chamber orchestra Suono e Oltre in Pescara, Italy. With John as soloist, the piece was performed in March 1995 in Italy and in August 1995 with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo. John has also been commissioned to write pieces for the Turtle Island String Quartet, violist Lawrence Dutton of the Emerson String Quartet, classical piano virtuoso Ann Schein, and the string quartet Elements, among others.
John has had several premieres of his other chamber music compositions, including at the Chelsea Music Festival in New York in July 2011 and BargeMusic in Brooklyn, also in 2011. In April 2012, John’s piece ""Fantasy on a River Theme"" was premiered at Jordan Hall in Boston with John as soloist with the Berklee College of Music Contemporary Symphony Orchestra. In January 2020, John’s protest piece for jazz trio and orchestra entitled ""Hypocrisy,"" will be premiered in Toronto with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, Brian Blade, Danilo Perez and John performing.
When John is not touring with his own band or the Wayne Shorter Quartet, he has found time to perform in other ensembles, such as the an all-star quintet Directions in Music, in 2001, which was led by Herbie Hancock and featured the late Michael Brecker on saxophone with the late Roy Hargrove on trumpet and Brian Blade on drums. They released a subsequent live CD entitled ""Live at Massey Hall,"" which also won a Grammy award.
British composer Mark Anthony Turnage and John collaborated on three large projects in 2007 and subsequently. The first is a piece entitled ""About Water,"" which featured John as one of several soloists with the London Sinfonietta in celebration of the reopening of the Southbank Centre in London. Mark wrote a composition for John as soloist on both acoustic and electric basses with string orchestra entitled ""A Prayer Out of Stillness."" John performed this piece with the London Symphony Orchestra, orchestras in Scotland, Estonia and Norway, and with the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of David Robertson. John has also performed on a Turnage piece entitled ""Scorched,"" with guitarist John Scofield and drummer Peter Erskine, which features the music of John Scofield.
In 2015, after releasing his fourteenth solo recording, ""Brooklyn,"" his band toured extensively. “The John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet”, features Adam Rogers and Steve Cardenas on electric guitars, Brian Blade on drums and John playing electric basses exclusively. A documentary, ""Back in Brooklyn,"" was filmed by August Sky Films and released in early 2016, combining performance footage, behind the scenes footage of rehearsals and the recording of ""Brooklyn."" The film also takes a look at John’s early years in Brooklyn, his music career and his home life through candid interviews with family and musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter.
In 2016, the ""Children of the Light"" trio with John, Danilo Perez and Brian Blade, released their first recording, ""Children of the Light."" ""Children of the Light"" toured extensively in the past few years, and will continue to do so in 2020 and beyond. John is also touring with and writing compositions and arrangements for the Harlem String Quartet in 2019-2020 and more.
John has always felt a call to mentor and teach young musicians and to help further and sustain the art of jazz and bass playing around the world. In 2002, following the retirement of Ron Carter, John began teaching at The City College of New York and was a Professor of Jazz Studies there for ten years. He has also been involved with the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in Washington, D.C. and the The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. John is a frequent clinician and guest lecturer at schools around the world and a regular featured performer at the International Society of Bassists conventions. In 2010, John began his involvement with the Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Institute, spearheaded by pianist Danilo Perez. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Berklee, teaching in both the Global Jazz Institute and the Bass Department. In early 2019, John held a residency at the Conservatoire de Paris, holding a master class and performing a concert.
Because of John’s faith and spiritual practice, he and his wife have been involved in social justice causes related to poverty, racial injustice, homelessness and child trafficking. They have participated extensively with hands-on help and performing and producing benefit concerts to raise funds for these worthy causes.
John currently resides in New York with his wife Sachi, a cellist, and their two daughters.
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