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John Bayless (Holiday)

John Bayless, a pianist, is an intriguing crossover artist who blends classical training and piano technique with popular and film music in dashing and imaginative improvisations.

John Bayless started playing the piano when he was four, receiving lessons from his mother. She taught him the standard teaching methods and music including Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Gershwin. As soon as he was old enough, he says, he was drawn to the piano whenever he had heard or emotionally experienced anything, and expressed these impressions by improvising.

One of his primary influences was the movies. His town on the West Texas Plains was typical for its time, with a drive-in movie where the family went every Friday "regardless of rain, dust storms, tornadoes, whatever," as he recalls. Along with the chili-cheese hamburgers, doughnuts, and popcorn, he ingested the music of film scores and was soon rushing over the piano afterwards to recreate the music of Mancini, Rota, Steiner, Rozsa, Herrmann, and Williams.

He won a scholarship to the Aspen School of Music at fifteen, and at seventeen went to Juilliard in New York to study piano with Adele Marcus. She recognized his unusual ability at improvisation (an art long in decline among classical musicians) and encouraged it. He was invited to participate as a composer in New York University's Masters Degree Musical Theatre Program, studying with Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green.

His first recording, "Happy Birthday Bach," was released in 1985 on the Pro Arte label. He has primarily recorded on Angel. His "Bach Meets the Beatles" and its follow-up, "Bach on Abbey Road" were hits, the first of them being one of Billboard's Top Ten crossover albums of the 1980s. "The Puccini Album ‹ Arias for Piano" was at the top of the classical crossover chart for eighteen weeks. Other hits have been a set of variations on songs from Bernstein's West Side Story and a set of classical film scores.

Bayless tours widely, playing around fifty concerts a year. He frequently appears at Pops concerts, and since the mid-1990s also appears often in Europe. As a composer, he has been commissioned to write for the Newport Music Festival, the University of Maryland International Piano Competition, and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, the latter for a score to a film about its Lila Acheson Wallace Exhibition of 20th Century American Art. ~ Joseph Stevenson
full bio

Comments

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jimdabassman
Amazing.
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Unparalled artistry and musicianship ! I want to find all JB's music printed. Let me know where to find. Thanks!
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albertdodig
Al. What a gift !!!
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Wow can this guy play!
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FRYS
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Since the early 1980s it has been a blessing to be a fan and friend of Johnny Bayless. His abundant musical talent and other mastery remain blessings to countless ears and hearts.
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Fantastic fingers!
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This guy is a freaking beast on the keys. oh man.
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juliajean17
This guy must be some kind of genius. He makes mixing two songs together sound beautiful.
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What a musical genious!!!Do e s John Bayless have 20 fingers????? ? H i s playing is superb!!!!!T h a n k you John!!!!!
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patriciashef f i e l d
yes!!!
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patriciashef f i e l d
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
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wilders34
Georgeous piano sound and great musicianship !
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Nice piano. Wonder if it is a 9' concert grand. Must be, especially sounds like it in the upper registers. Would be too funny if it was an expansion card on a keyboard!
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tmartin645
Love this one!
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diannebaker
Absolutely beautiful!
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jchastant
what beautiful piano!!!
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Great work. Great job with the classics
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Beautifully done, Thank You.
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patriciashef f i e l d
Beautiful! I needed to hear this.
Happy Holidays.
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I would like to hear xmas songs with more up beat.
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your music is very relaxing,God Bless you!!
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dianna kars
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clouds528
I love the playing of John Bayless. His Christmas album is some of his best work, in my opinion. I listen to it year round!
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pastorwayne8
John Bayless's piano styling makes me smile every time I hear it.
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John Bayless crystalize each note. So clearly and so clean. He plays with such emotion !!!
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music_ismyjo y
I echo Janet! This guy is so talented!!!
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John Bayless is truly one of the most passionate pianists I've ever heard. He makes you wish it was Christmas all the time just so you could listen to his amazing renditions of favorite Christmas standards!

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