John Pisano began his musical career on the East Coast playing the piano. At age 14 he took up the guitar. Later, in the 1950’s, he entered the service where he played guitar with the Air Force Band. Upon leaving the Air Force, he followed Howard Roberts and Jim Hall into the guitar chair in the Chico Hamilton quintet and his first significant recordings were made with Hamilton. The recordings, Chico Hamilton Quintet (1957) and South Pacific (1958) were especially noteworthy examples of Pisano’s already advanced comping, rhythm and single string solo techniques.
Throughout the later 1950’s, Pisano recorded with members of the Hamilton band, mainly Paul Horn and Fred Katz