John Brothers Piano Company is an Oakland-based instrumental quartet whose compositions oscillate between incisive part-writing and unrestrained improvisational energy. Guided by this interplay, seemingly disparate influences, from chamber music to hot jazz, are focused through emphatic lyricism.
In 2011 a group of friends at UC Berkeley had recently graduated and were contemplating job options. Finding that by hauling their spinet piano to nearby subway stations and busking together they could make enough to survive in the Bay Area, the path forward was clear. After the first few haphazard street shows and a generous write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle, the newly-formed John Brothers Piano Company began receiving opportunities to bring their wild sound in off the street. They landed a weekly residency at an after-hours club where they played from 2-6AM every Friday night for a year and have since been invited to play at The Fonda Theatre, Regency Ballroom, Great American Music Hall, Monterey Jazz Festival, SFJAZZ, Stern Grove Festival, Coup-de-Grace Festival, and Outside Lands. In addition to headlining their own shows across the US, John Brothers Piano Company has supported a variety of international touring artists including Karen O, Joan Osbourne, and Booker T.
John Thatcher Boomer (piano, clarinet), Arlo Perlstein (trumpet, piano), Jimi Marks (drums, piano), and Kent Kessinger (bass) inject their diverse musical instincts and backgrounds into every composition. However, the defining quality of the band lies not in what genres it bends or blends, but in the fact that performance has always been their rehearsal space. From their first sidewalk street shows to the weekly speakeasy, an audience has been present throughout the development of their sound. Thus, while JBPC often explores new musical possibilities, the music never strays into the esoteric, for the constant audience demands their unrelenting energy and runs an electric current through everything they produce.
Photograph by Don Dixon
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