John Cocuzzi

John Cocuzzi


- Swingster John Cocuzzi has New Orleans flavor with a touch of East Coast class. He plays with passion and intensity on PIANO, VIBES and DRUMS - vocals, too! Dance music and more: ballads, burners, and blues; boogie woogie and familiar standards played in John's dynamic style.



Starting as a jazz drummer had the greatest influence on John's rhythmic versatility on piano and vibes. Cocuzzi's piano work is influenced by Jelly Roll Morton, Thomas "Fats" Waller, Mead "LUX" Lewis, Professor Longhair, Nat "King" Cole, James Booker, and Erroll Garner. One can also hear echoes of Gene Harris and Dave McKenna. On vibraphone, John is most inspired by Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, and Milt Jackson. His vocal influences are from New Orleans jazz and blues stylists, but John also has his own shy-guy style on ballads. He enjoys making old songs new by creatively introducing fresh rhythms and honoring the rhythms of New Orleans in the spirit of Louis Armstrong.


An intuitive performer, John possesses that musical "fire in the belly," igniting excitement as he "tells his story" through high-energy, spirited solos. First a drummer, then a piano player, John didn't add the vibraphone till his late teens when he was inspired by Lionel Hampton recordings. Since then, he has performed alongside world-class musicians at many domestic jazz festivals and jazz parties, and at prestigious venues in Europe.


John Cocuzzi was born in the 60s at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside Washington, DC. His father, Frank Cocuzzi, had been a percussionist for the U.S. Marine Band and was a professional jazz drummer. Growing up, John would accompany his dad and sit-in at jam sessions with the older players. As a young man exposed to great jazz, he was able to get acquainted with these players and their music. There was live music everywhere John went; thus began his musical life path. John established himself in the DC area as a dynamic stylist on vibes, drums, piano and vocals.


For 15 years, John was Music Director for the 219 Restaurant's Basin Street Lounge in Old Town, Alexandria, VA. He was also Music Director for the Crystal City Jazz Celebration, a jazz party in the DC area, where John worked since its inception in 2003 through 2006, presenting the best artists in classic jazz today.

In the DC area, John appeared with his own trio/quartet and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian's IMAX Jazz Cafe, the Corcoran Art Gallery, and Blues Alley, Washington DC's premier jazz club. He has also performed at the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD, and at Marian's Jazz Room in Bern, Switzerland.

He has been working with top musicians for over 20 years and continues to attract new fans wherever his music takes him. He tours annually with Ed Polcer's All-Stars, and is fortunate to have performed at every single Atlanta Jazz Party (one of the greatest in the world!) since it began in 1990. In recent years, he has been a featured artist on numerous cruise ships and has relocated to Northern California where he is now furthering his career on the West Coast.


John has been fortunate to perform live with these Jazz / Blues giants: Billy Butterfield, Snooky Young, Steve Jordan, Bob Haggart, Milt Hinton, Keter Betts, Louis Bellson, Barrett Deems, "Weeping"� Tommy Brown, Jimmy "T-99"� Nelson, Floyd Dixon, Earl King, and Jimmy McCracklin.

While on tour, he has shared the stage with world-class artists Joe Wilder, Byron Stripling, Warren Vache, Jackie Coon, Bob Wilber, Kenny Davern, Bobby Gordon, Houston Person, Harry Allen, George Masso, Eddie Locke, Barbara Morrison, Peter Appleyard, Johnny Frigo, Wycliffe Gordon, Red Holloway, Bob Wilber, Bucky & John Pizzarelli, Russell Malone, Howard Alden, boogie-woogie piano great Bob Seeley, Dick Hyman, John Bunch, Eddie Higgins, Jake Hanna, Butch Miles, Bobby Rosengarden, Chuck Redd, and a host of others.

John has also played alongside Tom Saunders, Jon-Erik Kellso, Scott Robinson, Evan Christopher, Jim Galloway, Kim Cusack, Tom Fischer, Eric Schneider, Mike McMullen, Bill Allred, Russ Phillips, Bob Havens, Dan Levinson, Dan Block, Eddie Erickson, Steve Homan, Mark Shane, Vince Giordano, Murray Wall, Andy Cleyndert, Jennifer Leitham, Nicki Parrott, Banu Gibson, Rebecca Kilgore, Terry Blaine and many more (plus those listed below for recordings).

RECORDINGS: John has recorded many compact discs, under his own name and with other classic jazz artists: Dan Barrett, Randy Reinhart, Randy Sandke, Ed Polcer, Ken Peplowski, Allan Vache, John Allred, Andy Stein, Skitch Henderson, Bucky & John Pizzarelli, James Chirillo, John Sheridan, Johnny Varro, Milt Hinton, Paul Keller, Phil Flanigan, Frank Tate, Ed Metz, Jr., Joe Ascione, and Daryl Sherman.


On radio, John recorded a session for NPR's "Riverwalk: Live at The Landing"� with the Jim Cullum Band. It was a tribute to Benny Goodman, "The Swing Shift: Jazz on Late-Night Radio,"� and featured Allan Vache on clarinet with Nicholas Payton on trumpet.

Recent tours with Ed Polcer hav



For All We Know
(solo CD, piano/vocals)
available at CD Baby with streaming audio

Swing and Other Things
(John on vibes for Arbors Records)

(John on vibes for Arbors Records)

Movin' Up (ready for release - soon)
(John on piano/vibes/vocals for Arbors Records)

Swingin' and Burnin'
(John on vibes/piano/voc for Mapleshade Records)

Celebrating M. Bailey /Red Norvo
(John leading and on vibes for Audiophile Records)

Shoeless John Jackson
(John on vibes)

(John on piano/vocals)

Fool's Paradise
(John on piano/vocals)

At the Atlanta Jazz Party (John on vibes)

CDs LISTED BELOW feature John on PIANO with the Big 3 TRIO and on PIANO/VIBES with BIG JOE and the DYNAFLOWS ---

We Got Rhythm
(John on piano/vocals)

All Night Long
(John on piano/vocals)

I'm Still Swingin'
(John on piano/vocals)

The Blues You Would Just Hate to Lose, v.2

Proceeds benefit the AZ Classic Jazz Society's "Jazz for Youth" program ---

(AZ) A Jazz Celebration in the Desert LIVE
(John on vibes/piano with John Sheridan's "Sine Qua Non" Quintet)

(AZ) MORE Celebrating Jazz in the Desert LIVE
(John on vibes/piano with John Sheridan's "Sine Qua Non" Quintet)

(AZ) Embraceable You - John Sheridan / John Cocuzzi
(John on piano/vocals)

(AZ) Jazz LIVE Under the Palms
(John on vibes/piano with John Sheridan's "Sine Qua Non" Quintet)

(AZ) MORE Jazz LIVE Under the Palms
(John on vibes/piano with John Sheridan's "Sine Qua Non" Quintet)

(AZ) Stairway to to Paradise
(John on vibes)

(AZ) John Cocuzzi LIVE in Cactus Country
(John on vb / p / voc)

(plus others not listed here)

Set List

Great American Songbook -
Classic jazz
Jump Blues
Boogie woogie
R & B
Standards to suit all occasions