John Ferrara

Jazz Pianist/Arranger/Composer


If you read the phrase piano/bass and immediately assume that the later is accompanying the former, you could learn a lot from John Ferrara's DUO NEW YORK. Start with the opening track, This One's For Charlie, a boppish tribute to Mr. Parker. What we hear first isn't the theme, but bassist Harvie S running the A section changes all by himself. And as the tune progresses, not only does the bass get plenty of solo space, but the two trade fours for a bit before recapping the head. Short of shouting Equality! at the end, they couldn't have made a stronger case for the album as a meeting of peers, both creatively and instrumentally.

If their names don't ring a bell, don't worry. A longtime sideman and occasional teacher, Ferrara has been playing piano in the New York area for decades but released only one album prior to this; Harvie S (born Harvie Swartz), who has been playing in the city since the early '70s, is a well-seasoned sideman and leader, perhaps best known for his duet work with Sheila Jordan. Both fit comfortably in the mainstream, with Ferrara firmly in the Bill Evans school of elegant harmony, while Harvie comes off as a sort of Paul Chambers on steroids.

Yet while DUO NEW YORK doesn't break ground stylistically, it does offer a fresh approach to a straightahead style that too often falls into predictability. It isn't just that the bass takes the melody while the piano comps; it's that there's also a degree of counterpoint and free interplay seldom heard from people who mainly play standards.

DOWNBEAT Magazine, May 2017, (J.D. Considine)

I was drawn to this after purchasing Mr. Ferrara's first book - Fundamental daughter is currently majoring in music in college and beginning her second year. The first proved invaluable to her so the choice to purchase this book was a natural progression (pun intended!). From Mr. Ferrara's Basic Improvisation Review through advanced topics such as Minor Harmony, Modes, Voicings in Fourths, and Modulations (with a Blues section to boot)...the author again draws upon his very obvious strength....teaching - guiding the beginner and experienced Jazz student/player through the all too often mysterious road of learning Jazz piano. A MAJOR PLUS is the FREE CD included with the author not only playing all included transcriptions but also adding a commentary when required. This gives the student the feeling of personal attention which should have easily doubled the price of this book. Bottom line - highly recommended. Should be used by every Jazz teacher and serious student.

Michael Zabrocki, August 1, 2001 (AMAZON.COM customer review)

Wonderfully inventive jazz of the highest calibre.. This gifted musician plays wonderfully inventive jazz of the highest calibre...With swinging lyrical elegance and quiet passion..its quite simply, a stunning solo album of musical delights. Encore!

Steve Johnson (CDBABY customer review)

An absolutely stunning recording! What a revelation this CD is! John Ferrara is a major talent, and Intervals of Light ranks with the finest recordings in the long history of jazz piano. Mr Ferrara has chops but this is no mere display of musical athleticism. His prodigious technique is always put in the service of musical elegance, sensitivity, and swing. No one who loves jazz piano should be without this gorgeous collection of ballads, bossas, and burners!

Charlie Freeman (CDBABY customer review)