Since relocating to New York City from St. Louis more than 30 years ago, John Hicks is so firmly established among the most in-demand, prolific Jazz pianists and composers on the recording and live appearance scenes, critics seem to have permanently affixed the adjective "ubiquitous" to his name. As a leader or first-call sideman, playing inside the chord changes or outside, presenting sparkling ballads or burning up the keyboard at torrid tempos, Hicks is as versatile as he is
John's varied influences include Fats Waller piano rolls, Methodist church music, George Gershwin and bebop, and among his musical mentors were such immortals as Lucky Thompson, Miles Davis and Clark Terry. Hicks played road gigs with blues legends Little Milton and Albert King, and Jazz greats Al Grey, Johnny Griffin and Pharoah Sanders before he arrived in New York in 1963. John then worked with, among numerous others, Kenny Dorham, Lou Donaldson and Joe Henderson before becoming a full-time member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After two years with the seminal Messengers band,
John joined the Betty Carter Trio, another important incubator for world-class beboppers.
His productive stints with the vocalist Carter (1966-68) and (1975-80) and a 20-month
residency with the Woody Herman Big Band helped to propel John's career as a recording
artist into national notice.
The intervening years also saw Hicks appear live and on record with a galaxy of Jazz giants that included Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Frank Foster, Roy Haynes, Sonny Stitt, Jon Hendricks and James Moody. He has also recorded more than twenty of his own albums for a variety of labels, worldwide, including a most memorable live duet album with fellow pianist Kenny Barron.
John's experience is not just tied to the performing stage. He shares his art through teaching engagements, and has done so for a number of years at schools and colleges throughout the country, including the Jazz programs at New York University and the New School for Social Research. He tours regularly, both nationally and internationally, with ever increasing demand in both Asia and Europe.