Home » Jazz Musicians » John Calloway

John Calloway

John began performing Afro-Latin and jazz music as a teenager in San Francisco's Mission district, a spawning ground for many top West Coast performers of Latin music, such as Karl Perrazo, Rebeca Mauleon and John Santos. Originally a percussionist, John quickly branched out into woodwinds, trombone and piano, eventually focusing on the flute. He also began arranging music at a young age, having studied with Mark Levine. John resided in New York during the 1980s performing with Manny Oquendo's Libre, Charanga 76, Oscar Hernandez and Jerry and Andy Gonzalez. John also earned a Bachelors degree in music from the City College of New York.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, John has built a solid foundation as a musician, arranger-composer and educator. His credits as a performer/arranger include work with Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Omar Sosa, Pete Escovedo, Max Roach, Chocolate Armenteros, Carlos "Patato" Valdez, Jesus Diaz, Quique Cruz, Wayne Wallace, Rebeca Mauleon and John Santos. He is also a founding member of the Grammy nominated Machete Ensemble led by John Santos, having written and arranged much of their material. John has performed throughout the United States and around the world, including Europe (with Cachao), Cuba and the Caribbean (with John Santos), Asia and the Philippines (with Kulingtang Arts), Colombia, and Venezuela. He has most recently spent considerable time in Chile for two different projects: with the jazz group Quirejema on a multimedia presentation entitled "Archaelogy of Memory", about the effects of art on those tortured during the 1970s; and with Teatro ArcoIris of San Francisco State University, performing "Poeta Pan", a multimedia theatre piece on the life and poetry of Pablo Neruda.


Album Review

Chris Trinidad: Chris Trinidad y Canción Tagalog

Read "Chris Trinidad y Canción Tagalog" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

The quiet beauty of Chris Trinidad y Cancion Tagalog illustrates the subtleties between volume, power and intensity. The musician credits on its inner jacket list instruments with quite curious names, including three types of bata drums (okonkolo, itotele and iya) plus bombo and guagua among the percussion instruments, and with bandurria and octavina among the stringed and strummed ones. But the strangely quiet, beautiful music these instruments render sounds so much more meaningful than the strange ...

Live Review

John Calloway at the Red Poppy Art House

Read "John Calloway at the Red Poppy Art House" reviewed by Ken Vermes

John Calloway Red Poppy Art House San Francisco, CA December 14, 2013 The holidays can be tough on jazz and world music fans in the jny: San Francisco Bay Area. It seems the clubs and restaurants are all looking to please the crowds that go out rarely, but suddenly appear during this time. That's why the appearance of longtime Bay area flautist John Calloway at the Red Poppy Art House was a special ...

Read more articles
I have known John for a very, very, long time. After listening to the birth of this CD, I suggest you put your seat belts on and get ready for the ride of your life. I am proud that in his playing he maintains the integrity of tone, phrasing, and melody heard throughout. He truly has done his homework. And I have to say"as I listened again" I heard a reflection of myself. Thank you John. God bless and congratulations.....

"Dave Valentin, 2003 Grammy Winner"The Gathering

Diaspora (Bombo Music)

The flute of John Calloway helped to spark a Caribbean musical renaissance in the 1970s, as part of the neo-traditionalist band Tipica Cienfuegos. With a cast that included John Santos, Greg Landau, Anthony Blea and others, this Bay Area band bred leaders and inspired its members to dig into the history of their instruments in the Cuban and Puerto Rican traditions. Calloway was bitten by the charanga bug and Left for New York City in 1980 to explore. He returned periodically, in between his studies and stints with Manny Oquendo & Libre, Charanga 76, Oscar Hernandez, Jimmy Bosch and others, to write, record and sit in with Batachanga, the evolutionary offshoot of Tipica Cienfuegos. His joining Batachanga for their second album, Mañana Para Los Niños, marked Calloway's return to the Bay Area music scene in the late 1980s. It was there that he exhibited his creative side as an arranger and composer. Since then, his work as co-director of the acclaimed Machete Ensemble and a long string of resident salsa bands has been formidable. As a full time music teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District, he has nurtured many young students and maintains an aura as a behind-the-scenes guy.

Read more

Primary Instrument



San Francisco

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Consultations and Productions: John is able to advise you on many aspects of music production, helping you get the sound you desire through the right music, instrumentation and musicians. He can get you started on "that sound or concept in your head" regardless of the level of experience you may have. He can also fully produce or co-produce any CD or demo project you are interested in doing, which can include arranging to contracting the musicians to recording director of the session. Composing and Arranging Work: John is available as an arranger and composer to provide you with almost any music you need, whether they are adaptations or new arrangements of previously composed or published work, your own original ideas and compositions or commissioned works for hire

Read more



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Chris Trinidad y...

Iridium Records


The Code

Unknown label



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.