John Esposito is a New York State native and grew up in a family steeped in musical tradition. His grandfather was a noted teacher and violin maker who played violin with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and also worked with various theatre and jazz bands (including the Paul Whiteman Orchestra) on violin and reeds starting in the early 1920’s. John’s first performance experiences were playing harmonica in a blues band as a teenager. He attended SUNY Albany as a composition major.
He spent several years after college in Albany as the house pianist at the Gemini Jazz café working with J.R. Monterose and Nick Brignola and led his own group before coming to New York City in 1980. It was then that he began working with talented, young saxophonist/pianist/guitarist Arthur Rhames. For the next five years he would be an integral part of the Arthur Rhames Quartet with Jeff Siegel (drums) and Otto Gardner (bass), documented on only one recording, “Arthur Rhames Live At Soundscape.”
In 1985, John formed Second Sight – a jazz quintet with Dave Douglas, Jeff Marx, Allen Murphy, Jeff Siegel, and Fred Berryhill. They recorded Flying With The Comet in 1986, an album of original compositions released on John’s independent label: SunJump Records. Their second recording, Tiger Tracks, recorded in 1987 is an upcoming SunJump release. Of Second Sight, Gene Santoro in Pulse! Magazine wrote: “This sextet swings like mad and bubbles over with lively effervescent chops to spare.” Throughout the eighties John also put in time as a sideman for Carter Jefferson, John Stubblefield, Roswell Rudd, Hugh Brodie and many others.
In the nineties John began working with the groups of Franklin Kiermyer and Eric Person as a pianist and arranger. He recorded four albums with Kiermyer including Solomon’s Daughter, with tenor saxophone giant Pharoah Sanders,and Kairos with the legendary Sam Rivers. John also played on four albums with Eric Person’s MetaFour beginning with Eric’s More Tales to Tell with Dave Holland and Gene Jackson.
John is on the faculty of Bard College and teaches piano, drums, ensembles, jazz theory, repertoire and advanced composition techniques classes there.
In 2006 he returned to being a bandleader with three cd releases. One is Down Blue Marlin Road – a trio album of deconstructed/reconstructed jazz standards with Ira Coleman and Pete O'Brien – another is The Blue People – a quintet date of original material featuring Eric Person , Greg Glassman , Kenny Davis and Peter O'Brien - and A Book Of Five Rings, an octet
recorded live at the Knitting Factory, NYC. His new trio cd of original compositions is Orisha.