About John Basile...
New York City-based jazz guitarist and composer John Basile has returned to playing, composing, and recording music after a successful 25-year journey into the world of radiology, medical imaging, and business development. In the 1980s and 90's, John worked with some of the most esteemed artists in vocal and instrumental jazz in both live and recorded scenarios. He changed direction to pursue opportunities in healthcare that brought a new perspective and renewed sense of energy to his music.
Born and raised in Boston, John attended Berklee College of Music and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music. He honed his jazz skills studying with many of the great jazz guitarists of the era, including Barry Galbraith, Jack Wilkins, and Chuck Wayne. John made inroads as a professional during that busy time as a working guitarist playing soul, R&B and pop gigs in the fertile show band scene in Boston at the time.
He moved to NYC in 1985 where he got his first break playing with Peggy Lee at the behest of legendary jazz drummer Grady Tate (Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith). His thoughtful, less-is-more approach and deep sense of swing quickly made him an in- demand guitarist on the NYC scene. During these years John performed and/or recorded in diverse settings with Peggy Lee, Sylvia Sims, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, George Mraz, Michael Brecker, "Sweets" Edison, John Abercrombie, Tom Harrell, and Red Mitchell, among others.
In his nearly four decades as a musician, John has released 15 highly-acclaimed solo albums. He remained active composing and recording, even during his radiology tenure. In 2019, with the founding of Stringtime Productions, LLC, he added “media composer” to his credentials, composing and producing cues for film, television, and music libraries.
John is lauded for his dark and smooth tone, strong sense of swing, and finger style comping — playing chord fragments and melodies simultaneously. As an improviser, John is known for his conversational and lyrical approach, creating melodic lines that often result in harmonic surprises to the listener. His elegant musicality recalls consummate jazz guitarist Jim Hall who once remarked, "John Basile's playing has the essence of great jazz guitar - beautiful tone, marvelous swing, terrific technique and excellent phrasing. You can't ask for more".
John is also an accomplished professional boxing judge working championship assignments at Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center in New York, as well as championship bouts in Russia, Mexico, Australia and Montreal. “There is a close mental correlation between judging combat sports and jazz. Both require total concentration and to be "in the moment" at all times. “Whether you’re evaluating action in the ring or you’re improvising on a challenging set of chord changes, you have to be extremely focused to quiet your mind ” John says.
On his latest jazz release, “Satisfied” highlights include an invigorating return to form featuring Gary Versace on organ and Carmen Intorre Jr. on drums. In this spirit, the trio digs into Dionne Warwick’s 1979 hit ballad, "Déjà Vu.” with an up tempo swinging version guaranteed to please. The impressionistic waltz, “Animations,” is an original, revisited from his duo album with guitarist John Abercrombie, and features an exquisite solo by Gary Versace. On “All Day” and “Straight Punches,” the trio swings mightily into riff tune territory with intricate lines featuring smooth legato phrasing and some soulful slurs.
Whether preparing for his next jazz release or composing/producing library cues for media at Springtime Productions, John's musical scope continues to widen and offer new challenges and opportunities to remain creatively engaged.
Contemplating his circuitous path back to music, he says: “Coming back full circle to music and the guitar specifically, is very emotional for me. After all of these years, it’s still who I really am and moving it front and center now makes sense."