JOHN MENEGON Bassist / Bandleader / Composer / Arranger / Educator John Menegon was born in Hamilton (Ontario) into a musical family. When he was still a child, they moved to Montreal (Quebec), where John began playing guitar at age seven. He began studying classical guitar under the tutelage of George Doxas, which he continued for four years. In his early teens, he also became a part of the Montreal Island City Singers, a large choir with a busy performance schedule. At the age of 18, John enrolled in Dawson College, where he began playing the upright bass, studying with legendary Canadian jazz bassists Dave Young and Michel Donato. During this time, he also became involved in musical theatre, and was Musical Director for several musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar and Three Penny Opera. After graduating from Dawson College as a Music Major, he continued his education at Concordia College in 1975. It was at this time that he began his professional career as a Jazz Bassist, and soon became an in-demand sideman in Montreal and surrounding areas. He played in the Montreal and Toronto Jazz Festivals, as well as nightclubs and theatres throughout Canada. For two consecutive years he was the house bassist for the jazz club “2080” in Montreal.
John also began playing and composing on the piano, which led him to performing and recording with legendary Canadian dancers Margie Gillis and Susan Munro. Menegon’s compositional and improvisational approach was a good fit with their modern interpretations and innovations in dance. Margie Gillis became the first dance artist to be awarded the “Order of Canada,” and is an honorary cultural ambassador for both Quebec and Canadian governments.
After having worked for several years on the Canadian jazz scene with the great guitarists Sonny Greenwich, Mike Gauthier & Nelson Simons, and saxophonists Steve Grossman & Pat LaBarbara, Menegon went on to hone his skills in NYC in the mid-80s. Since moving to New York City to study Jazz at Long Island University on a full scholarship, John has performed and recorded with Dewey Redman, David “Fathead” Newman, Matt Wilson, Frank Kimbrough, John Hicks, Yoron Israel, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Burrell, Kenny Barron, Bruce Barth, Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Orchestra, Nick Brignola, Bob Meyer, Jimmy Cobb, Al Foster, Slide Hampton, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz, J.R. Monterose, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Judy Silvano, Teri Roiger, Tineke Postma, Greg Osby, James Weidman, Steve Williams, and many others.
John has recorded four CDs as a bandleader and played on numerous others as a sideman. He has also composed and arranged music on several recordings. His latest CD, I REMEMBER YOU, was released in March 2014 and includes compositions dedicated to some of the musicians who have influenced him musically and creatively over the years. The musicians on the CD include Tineke Postma (alto & soprano sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano) and Matt Wilson (drums) with special guest Teri Roiger on a couple of vocals.
John was an integral member of the Dewey Redman Quartet, as well as the David “Fathead” Newman Quintet, and spent over a decade performing, touring, and recording with each of them. These jazz legends have taken John around the world, playing at jazz festivals in South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and the U.S., and have been a major influence in his playing and compositions. John appears on Newman’s four most recent CDs on High Note Records. The influence of these jazz legends, as well as master drummer Paul Motian, Brazilian vocalist Gal Costa, and Ray Charles, are remembered and reflected in Menegon’s compositions on his new recording, I REMEMBER YOU.
As well as leading his own bands, John is a member of the Albany Jazz Composers Collective, the Teri Roiger Quartet, and is an active, in-demand sideman on the New York jazz scene.
In addition to touring, recording, and composing, Menegon is currently teaching Jazz Bass, Student Jazz Ensembles, the History of Jazz, and Basic Recording at SUNY New Paltz (New Paltz, NY). He has developed an online course for the History of Jazz and the History of Rock, and has created and taught Jazz Workshops on the music of Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus at Williams College (Williamstown, MA). He has also taught master classes at Jazz Festivals around the world, including Panama City (Panama), Bolzano (Italy), San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), and Beijing (China). In 2014 he was added to the Jazz Faculty at Ulster County Community College.
Menegon’s body of work includes over 70 compositions, including instrumentals for quartet & quintet, songs with lyrics, big band music, music for film, music for dance, spoken word, and music for solo piano. On one of his releases as a bandleader called NEW MOON, Menegon’s compositions are a reflection of his many years of love and dedication to the process of creating personal and engaging music that serves to propel positive energy in the world. The concept going into the recording was to have all the musicians engage in creating a musical spectrum based on shapes that sometimes look like equations in regard to velocity, rhythm, and intensity. Included in the recording are 2 compositions that engage the spoken word.
In 2011 Menegon composed and scored music for the critically acclaimed documentary film BEYOND ICONIC about the legendary photographer Dennis Stock. Directed by Hanna Sawka, this award-winning film has been premiered at several film festivals both nationally and internationally to high critical acclaim. He also composed and scored music for ROUTE 66, The Mother Road, an award-winning documentary film by photographer Roy Gumpel. It was aired on the National Geographic Station.
In 2004 John began designing, creating, and constructing a recording studio on his property in Marbletown, NY. UPLAND STUDIO has developed into a fully outfitted, professional recording studio, with an array of industry-standard gear. This is where Menegon records his own projects, as well as many other artists, and has served as the Sound Engineer on many recordings at Upland. www.uplandrecordingstudio.com
In the summer of 2011, Menegon (along with Teri Roiger) created an ongoing Jazz series in Woodstock called JAZZSTOCK, presenting local, national, and international musicians to audiences in the Hudson Valley. This series of concerts and workshops will continue into 2014 and beyond. The Mission Statement reflects the desire to present a diverse group of musicians who have an individual voice and a desire to share their talents and ideas throughout the Hudson Valley. The goals include presenting concerts and creating opportunities for educating audiences and aspiring musicians. www.jazzstock.com
AS A BANDLEADER
I REMEMBER YOU (John Menegon, Inner Circle Music, 2014) John Menegon (bass and compositions), Tineke Postma (alto/sop sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Matt Wilson (drums), Teri Roiger (voice)
NEW MOON (John Menegon, Maki Records, 2011)
A CD composed and recorded by Menegon in 2011, incorporates two drummers (Bob Meyer & Harvey Sorgen), saxophone (Jonathan Lorentz), guitar (Michael Bocian), John on bass and Teri Roiger on voice/spoken word. Menegon interweaves some of his original compositions and poetry to create a unique conversation among the musicians. Several of the pieces incorporate the use of graphic art in relation to rhythm, dynamics, movement, and punctuation.
SOUL ADVICE (John Menegon, Maki Records, 2006)
Menegon’s second CD as a leader and includes John on bass, John DiMartino on piano, John Gunther on bass clarinet, soprano & tenor sax, Mark Dziuba on guitar, and Tani Tabbal on drums. The CD features four compositions by Menegon, two by Dziuba, and one by Gunther. There is one jazz standard Monk’s Dream by Thelonious Monk.
SEARCH LIGHT (John Menegon, Maki Records, 2004)
Menegon debuted as a leader on this CD, a selection of his original compositions and arrangements, and features one of jazz's greatest living legends, Dewey Redman (sax), along with John Gunther (sax/flute), Mark Dziuba (guitar), Mark McLean (drums), Tani Tabbal (percussion) and Teri Roiger (voice).
MISTERIOSO (Teri Roiger/John Menegon, King Records in Japan 1998 and Igmod & Maki Records in the U.S.) Menegon and Roiger recorded, arranged, and produced their first CD with jazz legends Kenny Burrell on guitar and Jack DeJohnette on drums, which includes jazz standards and original compositions.
AS A SIDEMAN
NYHAVN LIVE (Randy Simon Jazz Project 2013)
Compositions & Arrangements by Randy Simon with Rob Linquist (piano), Kevin Barcomb (tenor,alto sax), Dylan Canterbury (trumpet,flugelhorn), John Menegon (bass), Danny Whelchel (drums)
DEAR ABBEY: THE MUSIC OF ABBEY LINCOLN (Teri Roiger, Inner Circle Music, 2012)
Menegon wrote the arrangements and played bass on DEAR ABBEY, released on Inner Circle Music in September 2012 to great critical acclaim. Teri Roiger (voice), Frank Kimbrough (piano), John Menegon (bass), Steve Williams (drums), Greg Osby (alto sax), Mark Dziuba (guitar)
BORDERLANDS (Jonathon Lorentz, 2011) John Menegon (bass), David Clarko (drums), (Jonathon Lorentz (Tenor sax).
OPTIMISTIC VOICES (Ann Osmond & Dennis Yerry, 2011) Ann Osmond (voice), Dennis Yerry (voice & piano), John Menegon (bass), Jeff Siegel (drums)
AS A SIDEMAN – page 2
KARIBU (Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard, 2011) John Menegon (bass), Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius (piano/voice), Jonathon Greene (clarinet/saxophones), Rebecca Kleinmann (flutes), John Ehlis (guitar/mandolin), Brian Melick (percussion), Zorkie Nelson (percussion/voice), Jeffery Parker, Dan Vidali (cello)
LIGHT IT UP (Randy Simon, 2010)
OLD PATHS...NEW ROADS (Robert Lindquist, 2009) Robert Lindquist (piano), John Menegon (bass), Jeff Dowd (drums)
LIFE (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2007) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Menegon (bass), David Leonhardt (piano) Peter Bernstein (guitar), Steve Nelson (vibes), Yoron Israel (drums)
CITYSCAPE (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2006) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Menegon (bass), David Leonhardt (piano) Howard Johnson (baritone sax), Yoron Israel (drums)
I REMEMBER BROTHER RAY (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2005) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Hicks (piano), John Menegon (bass) Steve Nelson (vibes), Winard Harper (drums)
STILL LIFE (Teri Roiger, Maki Records, 2005) Teri Roiger (voice), Frank Kimbrough (piano), John Menegon (bass), Gil Goldstein (accordion) Matt Wilson (drums)
DEWEY REDMAN’S GUGGENHEIM GRANT PROJECT (August 2004) A recording at Ornette Coleman’s studio featuring Dewey Redman, JOHN MENEGON (bass), Joe Lovano, Michael Bocian, Leroy Jenkins, Pharoan Aklaff Matt Wilson, Amina Claudine Meyers, Teri Roiger, Judi Silvano, Lydija Redman and others
SONG FOR THE NEW MAN (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2004) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Hicks (piano), John Menegon (bass) Curtis Fuller (trombone), Jimmy Cobb (drums)
A PIANIST’S GUIDE TO FREE IMPROVISATION: Keys to Unlocking Your Creativity (2002)
Instructional Video with Marilyn Crispell for Homespun Tapes
ANTHONY BRAXTON’S TRILLIUM R, composition no. 162, (Opera In Four Acts, 1991)
FIFTH HOUSE (collaborative project released on Imaginary Records, 2000) John Menegon (bass), Adam Rafferty (guitar), Jeff Siegel (drums)
THROW OUT THE LIFE LINE (Linda Gibbs/Pat McKearn, 2000)
Linda Gibbs (voice), Patrick McKearn (piano), John Menegon (bass), Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Hern Badbois (percussion), Paul Shapiro (sax & clarnet)
IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU(Sarah James, 1995) Sarah James (voice, flute, sax)
SELECT PRESS QUOTES / REVIEWS DOWNBEAT April 2014 (John Menegon)
I REMEMBER YOU (Inner Circle Music) **** Canadian-bred John Menegon is in the line of George Mraz and Michael Moore; a harmonically sophisticated bassist with technical facility who swings hard when it’s called for. This is his third album under his own name and like the two aforementioned masters, Menegon can articulate lyrically while laying down the law on standard changes, but he has other, more contemporary components to his music, too. Menegon’s New York-based quartet serves up a sublime title tune (the only non-original) with Tineke Postma’s clearwater soprano sax. So much of this collection is rhythmically invigorating, and the rhythm section of Menegon, pianist Frank Kimbrough, and drummer Matt Wilson gives a sense of playful exchange throughout. The push-pull of “Ray’s Awareness” has each instrument displacing accents, looking for the holes and creative ways to phrase in a collective dance. It’s nice to hear an album where the musicians sound like they’re having a party. Kirk Silsbee, 2014 SOUL ADVICE: “This is a brilliant release full of rich composition and arrangement …when you have a strong well-rounded bassist like John Menegon composing, arranging, and laying down the serious low-end vibes, the music naturally flows out and around and back again seeking its root.” John Trent, Chronogram, 2006 “John Menegon’s SEARCH LIGHT is witty, atmospheric, and thoroughly engaging from one end to the other. On Search Light, John Menegon shows, without self-indulgence, that the bass can define the character of an ensemble as clearly and fully as any other instrument. The entire project has a surefootedness, a quiet, elegant, muscularity that radiates from Mr. Menegon’s own playing, and that is immediately apparent and compelling. The band is made up entirely of accomplished players, the best known being, in fact, saxophonist Dewey Redman, who is, once again, brilliant, & wonderful.” Steven Robinson, AllAboutJazz, 2004 In 2005 Menegon played at the Montreal Jazz Festival with Pat Metheny and Dewey Redman, performing music from Metheny’s CD 80/81. John also played at the Festival with the Dewey Redman Quartet featuring Matt Wilson on drums and Frank Kimbrough on piano, which was acclaimed by the critics as the best performance of the entire 2005 Festival: “MENEGON met the demands of the music with a combination of relaxed swing and more outward-looking freedom. His solos were the perfect confluence of rhythmic invention and melodic conception.” John Kelman, AllAboutJazz-New York, 2005
Review from The Paradiso Cafe, Ottawa, Canada with JOHN ABERCROMBIE: ”Menegon, best-known for his work with two now-departed and almost diametrically opposed saxophone greats in the latter parts of their careers—Dewey Redman and David "Fathead" Newman, whose swan song, The Blessing (HighNote, 2010) came out earlier this year—was, perhaps, the biggest surprise of the evening, if only because of an audience familiar with Abercrombie (for obvious reasons), and with the Montreal-based Doxas brothers, because of their regular Ottawa appearances in a variety of contexts, together and alone. With a robust tone that supported deep, resonant low notes as much as it did lither excursions in the instrument's upper register, Menegon created both a pliant and unshakable foundation, and an equal extemporaneous partner who, as much as anyone else in the quartet, pushed and pulled the music to new and unexpected places.”
“A fine carpet of swing laid by bassist John Menegon sets the jump-blues feel on Menegon’s tune Bu Bop Bass just right on David Newman’s latest CD Cityscape #1 on JazzWeek Charts!” Andrew Rowan, All About Jazz-New York
TOURING with legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman
GERMANY: Berlin (Club Tranenpalast), Darmstadt (Centralstation), Delmenhorst (JazzFest Delmenhorst), Hanau (Jazzkeller Hanau), Klever (Klever Jazz Freunde), Leverkusen (Topos), Munich (Untefahrt Jazzclub), Munich (Bayerischer Hof), Passau (Blue Notes), Saarbrucken (Saarl. Rundfunk / Jazz Redakion), Singen (Jazzclub Singen), Hanover (Raschplatz Pavillon), Nurnberg (Jazzstudio Nurnberg)
HUNGARY: Budapest (New Orleans Music Club)
SWITZERLAND: Zurich (Moods)
BELGIUM: Antwerp (Cultural Centrum)
NORWAY: Kongsberg (Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Oslo (Bla Jazzclub)
FRANCE: Paris (Sunside, New Morning)
SWEDEN: Gothenborg (Nefertiti)
TURKEY: Istanbul (Babylon Club)
HOLLAND: Amsterdam (Bimhuis), Rotterdam
ITALY: Vicenza (Teatro Olimpico), Catania (Associazione Culturale Anaglyphos), Milan (Milan Jazz Festival), Rome (La Palma)
AUSTRIA: Graz (Wist Steierwork), Innsbrook (Hypo Tirol), Lembach (Kulturclub Lembach), Linz (Linz Jazz Club), Krems (That’s Jazz), Melk (Jazzclub Melk), Neustadtl (Pfarrsaal-Neustadtl), Salzburg (Jazzklub Life), Vienna (Porgy & Bess), Vienna (Jazzland)
ENGLAND: London (Pizza Express)
AFRICA: Capetown (Capetown Jazz Festival)
BRAZIL: Rio De Janeiro (Rio De Janeiro Jazz Festival), Sao Paulo (Hennessey Jazz Festival)
ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Jazz Festival)
CANADA: Toronto (JVC Jazz Festival), Montreal (Montreal Jazz Festival with special guest Pat Metheny)
UNITED STATES: Concerts, Festivals, and Clubs in St. Louis (MO), Yoshi’s San Francisco (CA), Miami (FL), Buffalo (NY), Maine, Sculler’s Jazz Club in Boston (MA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Schenectady (NY), Joyous Lake & Colony Café in Woodstock (NY), Kingston (NY)
New York City venues: The Iridium, The Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Birdland, The Vision Festival, Texaco Jazz Festival
TOURING with legendary saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman CANADA: Toronto (Harborfront Jazz Festival)
SWITZERLAND: Bern (Marian’s Jazz Club)
MEXICO: San Miguel de Allende (San Miguel Jazz Festival)
UNITED STATES: Concerts, Festivals, and Clubs in San Jose (CA), St. Louis (MO), Atlanta (GA), Minneapolis (MN), Albany (NY), Lake George (NY), Newark (NJ), Sculler’s in Boston (MA), Woodstock (NY)
New York City venues: The Village Vanguard, The Iridium, Jazzmobile Festival, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Smoke Jazz Club
Select TOURS, FESTIVALS, and CONCERTS as a BANDLEADER: including musicians Joe Lovano, Teri Roiger, Adam Rafferty, Jeff Siegel, John Betsch, Kirk Lightsey, and others FRANCE: Paris (Sunside and Sept Lezard)
BELGIUM: Brugge (De Werf Jazz Club), Brussels (L’Archiduc, Sounds Jazz Club, The Sheraton Jazz Club, Music Village, University of Brussels)
LUXEMBOURG: L’Inoui Jazz Club
PANAMA: Panama Jazz Festival
ITALY: Bolzano (Bolzano Jazz Festival), Rome (La Palma Jazz Club)
CANADA: Toronto (Distillery Jazz Festival, Junction Jazz Festival)
Montreal (L’Air Du Temp, Upstairs Jazz Club)
Quebec City (Clarendon Jazz Club)
UNITED STATES: New York City (Kitano Jazz Club), New Paltz, NY (Mohonk Jazz Festival), Woodstock, NY (Kleinert/James Arts Center, Colony Cafe), Kingston, NY (Kingston Jazz Festival), Albany, NY (Justin’s, 74 State)
Select TOURS, FESTIVALS and CONCERTS as a sideman with miscellaneous groups: Special guest with Joe Lovano: Williamstown Jazz Festival, Albany Jazz Festival, Falcon Arts Center, Katonah Jazz in the Park with John Scofield & Judi Silvano
UNITED STATES: New York City (Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Kitano Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, 55 Bar, Sweet Rhythm, Cleopatra’s Needle, Five Spot, Knickerbocker, Metronome), Baltimore, MD (An Die Musik), Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (Dakota Jazz Club), Artist’s Quarter, Summer Jazz Festival), Brooklyn (Brooklyn Academy of Music), New Jersey (New Brunswick Jazz Project), Boston, MA (Ryles Jazz Club), Woodstock, NY (Kleinert/James Arts Center)
CANADA: Montreal (Upstairs Jazz Club, Bijou Jazz Club, L’Air du Temp, Biddles), Toronto (The Rex), Quebec City (Quebec City Jazz Festival), Rimouski (Rimouski Jazz Festival)
Also performed with the East 13th Street Band led by musician/painter Larry Rivers for one year, and played and toured in the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’.