John Basile was born in the Boston area and began playing in local show bands and organ groups at an early age. He attended Berklee College of Music and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music.
Moving to NYC John has performed and recorded in a wide variety of formats both as a leader and a sideman. As an accompanist he has worked with Peggy Lee, Sylvia Syms, Rosemary Clooney, Mark Murphy, and Tony Bennett as well as live performances with contemporary instrumentalists George Mraz , Tom Harrell, John Abercrombie, and Red Mitchell to name just a few.
Musically John's guitar style utilizes a finger-style technique that approaches the guitar like a piano. For John the challenge of comping chord fragments and playing melodies simultaneously provides a backdrop for a more open style of playing and improvising. When asked about his most important influences, the first two names he mentions are not other guitar players; Frank Sinatra heads the list and then Bill Evans. Perhaps this explains why John Basile is one of a select group of jazz instrumentalists who doesn’t sound like everyone else. Basile is also one of those rare players who still treasures songs. Not just the tunes, but the songs; musical and lyrical ideas combined in a way that creates a vibrant structure that invites interpretation.
Basile’s ability to ‘sing’ on the guitar is the result of a unique approach to the instrument. He uses a finger-style technique in which he plays the melody and at the same time accompanies himself with fragments of the harmony. The big five and six note chords that are normally strummed are replaced with choice two or three note percussive voicings. Most players, using a pick, strum a chord and then play a single line solo phrase followed by another chord and another solo phrase. Basile, using his fingers, plays both the solo line and the chords simultaneously. This style is similar to the right and left hands of a pianist. It is important to note that this is not something that Basile works out as part of an arrangement for any particular song. This is the language he speaks on the guitar to seek improvisational clarity as the goal.
His latest release "No Apologies" returns to his roots and presents a soulful organ based collection of standards, originals, latin, and 70’s pop tunes. “ For this project we wanted to approach the music, choice of musicians , and conception totally from an organic (figuratively and literally) approach and work with material that I felt was complete in representing my personal experience in all styles of music over the years”.
“No Apologies” features the Pat Bianchi on the organ and Carmen Intorre on drums , two of the most exciting voices in jazz today. “ With a few 70’s pop tunes, straight ahead standards, a movie theme, a few originals, and some samba/latin grooves, we had a ball in creating a very complete musical menu that entertains from start to finish.”
John entered the field of medical imaging as an MRI technologist and educator, opened numerous imaging centers in the NY area, and recently attained the advanced certification CRA (Certified Radiology Administrator). He is also a professional boxing judge as an official with the NYS Athletic Commission.
Currently, in addition to working with Stringtime Jazz , John manages a number of medical imaging centers and juggles a busy schedule of performing and teaching in the NYC area. He can be reached at : email@example.com - www.johnbasile.net
- Very Early (Seabreeze 2024) w/ Eddie Gomez
- Quiet Passage (ProJazz 627) w/ Tom Harrel, Joey Barron, George Mraz.
- Sunnyside Up (ProJazz 641) w/ Terry Clarke, Paul Socolow, Tom Harrell, Byron Olsen.
- John Basile/Brad Terry Duo (Musicmasters 51244A)
- For All Time (Philology 214W103-2) w/ David Finck, Peter Grant.
- Frankly Speaking: A Jazz Portrait of Sinatra (King Record - Japan) w/ Michael Brecker, John Abercrombie, Grady Tate.
- The Desmond Project (Chesky 165)
- It Was A Very Good Year (UnderhillJazz 001)
- Animations (UnderhillJazz 002) w/ John Abercrombie.
- Time Will Reveal (UnderhillJazz 003) w/ David Finck, Clint de Ganon , Joe Locke, Roger Squitero.
- No Apologies (Stringtime Jazz 001) w/ Pat Bianchi , Carmen Intorre
- Amplitudes (Stringtime Jazz 002) Solo guitar explorations
- Undercover (Stringtime Jazz 003) Pop interpretations from the 80's
- Penny Lane (Stringtime Jazz 004) Jazz Guitar Beatles