Over the course of his career, John Escreet has earned a reputation as one of the most active and diverse pianist/composers working in jazz and improvised music. His prolific output is reflected over the course of 8 diverse and critically acclaimed albums - the most recent being his 2018 release Learn To Live - an epic and wide-ranging program of electronic and acoustic explorations, featuring an all star band of Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby, Matt Brewer and the 2-drum team of Eric Harland and Justin Brown.
Bursting on to the scene with his 2008 debut album Consequences, Escreet quickly earned a reputation as one of the most exciting new pianist/composers to have emerged in recent years, with Downbeat magazine proclaiming “John Escreet’s recent debut Consequences signals the jumpstart of a new voice in jazz." Similar praise followed for his 2010 sophomore release Don’t Fight The Inevitable, of which the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff said “… on an ambitious second album, the pianist John Escreet seems to be thinking about where jazz can go next. He’s using lots of structure and instrumental texture, cruising through different languages, straight-ahead and free and in between; it’s like a tour of the last 25 years of serious jazz." 2011 saw two releases - The Age We Live In, and Exception To The Rule, followed by 2013’s Sabotage and Celebration, all of which received widespread international critical acclaim.
The next additions to this impressive catalog were 2014's Sound, Space and Structures, and 2016’s The Unknown - both of which feature his working Trio with John Hébert on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, paired with the master free-jazz saxophonist and elder statesman Evan Parker. The Unknown also marks Escreet’s first live album, recorded in Europe over the course of 2 concerts. 2018 saw Escreet return to composed music with perhaps his most remarkable release to date - Learn to Live - which among other things features Escreet extensively using the Prophet 6 synthesizer to expand his musical palette.
As well as being a leader of prolific output, Escreet is also a much sought-after sideman. In recent years he has been mostly associated with the Grammy award-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez, recording on his 2013 Cam Jazz release New Life, 2015’s The Meridian Suite and 2019’s Lines In The Sand. He has toured extensively across the globe with Sanchez’s Migration band, becoming an integral part of that group’s sound and development.
Over the years, he has worked with other international artists such as Ambrose Akinmusire, Chris Potter, David Binney, Amir ElSaffar, Alex Sipiagin, Wayne Krantz, Adam Rogers, Marcus Gilmore, Eric Harland, Tyshawn Sorey, Greg Osby, Dan Weiss, Matt Brewer, Jamie Baum, John Hébert, Evan Parker, Will Vinson, Seamus Blake, Logan Richardson, Jim Black, Nasheet Waits, Justin Brown, Ari Hoenig, Harish Raghavan, Nir Felder, Nate Wood among many others.
In 2009, John was a recipient of the prestigious Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, as well as the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2011. In 2013, Escreet was commissioned by the Jazz Gallery to write a new work as part of their Residency/Commissions for 2012-2013, for which he wrote an extended work for string quartet and piano trio. 2014 saw John being awarded the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation USArtists International grant to tour with his Quartet, and recently in 2015 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), his Alma Mater - awarded to past students who have distinguished themselves in the music profession and made a significant contribution to it in their particular field.
John is also an active educator, and has given clinics and classes at institutions across the globe. He has been in residence as a professor at Siena International Summer Workshop (Italy), Langnau Jazz Nights (Switzerland), International Jazz Platform (Lodz, Poland), Mahidol University (Thailand) among others.
John continues to forge ahead with multiple projects and recordings, ranging from his Trio, to his Quintet (known as The John Escreet Project), to collaborative projects with Los Angeles-based pop duo KNOWER, to the most recent collaboration with British free-jazz icon Evan Parker, as well as his recent forays into writing extended works for strings. His music is often described as eclectic, and is perhaps best summed up by the New York City Jazz record:
“Escreet is a musical omnivore who embraces aspects of contemporary classical music, Frank Zappa, dance music, electronica and a wide swath of jazz, from bop to avant-garde. What comes out is uniquely personal - some of the most inventive and distinct jazz around today."
“Transatlantic Jazz Genius"
– Time Out London
“Pianist John Escreet’s recent debut “Consequences" signals the jumpstart of a new voice in jazz"
– Downbeat Magazine
“On “Don’t Fight the Inevitable", an ambitious second album, the pianist John Escreet seems to be thinking about where jazz can go next"
– Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
"Sabotage and Celebration finds this precociously accomplished small-ensemble composer relishing a broader palette. He's a big talent."
- John Fordham, The Guardian, UK
“John Escreet is generally considered to be one of the most talented and innovative pianists of his generation" - North Sea Jazz Festival
"Tension. Fear. Drama. Resolution. Joy. Comfort. On his excellent fifth album as a leader, John Escreet expresses a range of emotion and the kind of narrative arc that wouldn't be out of place in an opera."
- Downbeat Magazine
“Escreet, who is British but Brooklyn-based, smartly and ambitiously rides the leading edge of contemporary jazz." – The Ottawa Citizen