Since moving to New York City in 2005, Asian –American trombonist, composer, arranger John Yao has been an integral member of the Jazz and Latin music scenes. Born in 1977 outside of Chicago, John began studying piano at the age of 7. As is often the case, John disliked his piano teacher and wanted to quit. So at the age of 11, after the trombone caught his attention, he made a deal with his parents to quit the piano and to play the trombone instead.
Hungry for more knowledge, John continued his study and has since received a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University and a Master's degree in Jazz Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queen's College. During his time at Indiana University, John resumed playing the piano, which would become an important tool in the development of his composing and arranging skills. While at Queen's College, Luis Bonilla profoundly influenced John not only through their study of the trombone but as educator and a person. In his studies with Michael Mossman, John grew immensely as composer and arranger and received the Aaron Copland School of Music Jazz Award.
As a performer, John has played at many major venues including Carnegie Hall, the Village Vanguard, Birdland and the Kennedy Center. Internationally, he has played in Japan, Italy, Austria, Peru, Brazil, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Aside from being a member of New York's hottest salsa band Chino Nunez and Friends, John has also performed with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra directed by Arturo O'Farrill, Paquito D'Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, Danilo Perez, Kurt Elling, Teo Macero, Diego Urcola, Ismael Miranda, Buddy DeFranco, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lou Rawls, Brooklyn Big Band, JEff Fairbanks Orchestra, Josh Shneider Orchestra and Bright Eyes.
As a composer and arranger, John has written many commissions for educational performance ensembles of all sizes ranging from big band to jazz trio. He has also written big band arrangements and original compositions for several professional bands in the New York area. Currently, John is artistic director and conductor of his own big band, Yaozeki Big Band, which has perfroming around New York City since 2010. Seperately, he has been working a small group project, the John Yao Quintet, which released it's debut CD "In the Now" on Innova Recordings in April 2012.