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Bassist, composer, educator and producer, John was born June 28th, 1952 in Boston, Massachusetts. The son of a Methodist minister, John's earliest musical impressions were formed in church and through listening to his father's extensive jazz record collection. After graduating from Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, John enrolled at the Philadelphia Musical Academy in 1970. During this period he began appearing in New York City, working with the bands of Carlos Garnett, Joe Henderson and Pharoah Sanders.

In 1972, John was hired as bassist for the Max Roach Quartet. Later that year he moved to Europe for a stay that would last until 1974. During this period, he worked and recorded with Gary Bartz, Philip Catherine, Joe Henderson, Chris Hinze, Jasper Van'T Hof, Joachim Kuhn, Charlie Mariano and Toots Thielemans. With drummer Gerry Brown he also recorded his first solo effort entitled "Infinite Jones". After returning to the United States, John began to work with the bands of Norman Connors, Gil Evans, Joe Henderson and Lonnie Liston Smith.

In 1975, he joined Larry Coryell's Eleventh House while also forming his own band with Gerry Brown. Together they recorded two albums for Blue Note and two for Columbia. During this period, John would also work with the bands of Alphonse Mouzon and Gary Bartz as well as producing records for Atlantic, Capitol, Mercury and Muse.

In May of 1977, John left the Eleventh House to concentrate on the John Lee/Gerry Brown Band and to also work with a trio he and Brown had formed with guitarist Philip Catherine. They broke up the band at the end of 1981 to pursue different musical interests. In 1982, John joined the McCoy Tyner Quintet, where he worked until joining the Dizzy Gillespie Group in 1984. John was a member of Dizzy's various bands including the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, the 70th Anniversary Big Band and the United Nation Orchestra until 1992 when Dizzy became ill. As of present, John is producing and writing as well as working with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Sonny Rollins, Jon Faddis, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi, Gregory Hines, and the Fantasy Band, a group formed with Chuck Loeb, Marion Meadows and Dave Samuels. He is also the program director for "DIZZY™: The Man and the Music", the official concert and clinic program celebrating the life and work of John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie.

 

   

 

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