Composer John Blair began musical studies at age ten. Upon discovering an abandoned trombone (still in use and recently refurbished) in the family's hall closet, he began private lessons. Proficiency on trombone came quickly and he was an accomplished self-taught pianist by age fourteen. His parents deserve the credit for exposure to a wide range of different musical styles. This included regular doses of Joplin, Beethoven, Copland, as well as standards from the American musical theater. From the earliest years, composition and improvisation were significant to his musical explorations. He enjoyed experimenting with assigned repertoire, modifying melodies, modes and rhythms much to the chagrin of his teachers.

Influential composition teachers include, Donald Erb,Chen Yi, and Zhou Long. John served on the faculties of Butler University, Montgomery College and Sam Houston State University. While at Montgomery College he implemented the Jazz Studies program. At SHSU, he served as assistant director of the Jazz Ensemble, taught music theory, private composition and aural skills.

A few of the artists John has performed with include: Grammy award winning artists Bill Watrous, Al Grey, John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, and the Empire Brass. John has provided arrangements for jazz artists Kevin Mahogany and Bobby Watson. Cosmic Residue was recorded at Sound Trek Studios in KC, MO and presented at the Jazz Composers’ Symposium at USF.

His composition Parallax for solo piano, released on Capstone records, has received numerous public performances. Adagio for Clarinet was premiered at the International Clarinet Symposium and continues to enjoy multiple performances nationwide.

He is currently based in New York working as a composer, performer, arranger and as a certified Apple Trainer for Logic Pro.

Lionel Hampton
Trombone Factory

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