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 in 1979.
Moving to NYC in 1980 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.
In 1997 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).
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. Like Paul Desmond, Lester Young and many of
the jazz legends before him, John Basile is an instrumentalist who knows the lyrics to the
songs he plays. And when a composition has no words, John plays it as if it does. Basile�s
ability to �sing� on the guitar is the result of a unique approach to the instrument. He
a finger-style tchnique 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 relpaced with a choice two or three notes. The listener�s ear (and brain) fill
in the rest of the pitches. 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. (guitarist George Van Eps, 1913-1998, was known to
refer to his instrument as a �lap piano�) 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. John has said that as a result of this vocabulary he has
learned to edit himself and to have more clarity. That clarity is evident in the eleven
renditions presented on this recording. Basile does his �instrumental singing� on three
original compositions as well as a handful of standards. John�s influences are ever-
present; Like Bill Evans, his ideas and phrases flow beautifully one to the next.
Currently, in addition to working with Underhill 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 protected]
- 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
- No Apologies (Underhill Jazz 004) w/ Pat Bianchi , Carmen Intorre , Kevin Winard.
- Amplitudes (StringTime Jazz 002) - Solo duets.