22.10. – Happy Birthday !!! Drummer, composer, programmer John B. Arnold has been playing drums for over thirty years and has earned himself a position amongst his peers and drum innovators. He has performed and recorded for television, movie soundtracks and has been a teacher in New York, Berlin and Rome.
His playing style is original and unique and combines the importance of groove playing, technique and innovation. Guitarist John McLaughlin says of John’s playing style: “He is pushing the barriers of contemporary drumming to new heights with the innovation of new concepts in drumming and rhythmic expression.” John is also recognized for his work as a composer having to his credit three CD’s under his name with a fourth for release this year. His recordings have seen the participation of Kenny Garrett, John Pattitucci, Gary Thomas, Greg Osby, John Abercrombie Larry Goldings, Uri Caine, Jason Moran, Matthew Garrison, Dave Binney, Reggie Washington. His compositions are intricate, original and creatively arranged earning him the respect of many fellow composers worldwide. His prowess in the field of electronic music is highly regarded as well, him currently teaching a course on the subject and called often for his ELECTRONIC SOUND TABLES which are created in post production alongside acoustic projects.
Born in New York City from a musical family on his father’s side, his grandfather being the legendary American composer Hoagy Carmichael, John took an interest in music at the age of 13, period when he received his first drum set from a middle school friend, an old Brazilian trap kit with only a snare drum, floor tom without legs and bass drum, his mother telling him that if he was really interested in the drums, he would have to show it and earn it before she would actually buy him one. At the age of 14 John moved with his mother to Rome Italy where he did show it by participating in a talent show at, and by 16 playing already in a couple of high school bands and at 18 working in night clubs. At 20 john decided to stay in Rome and work getting as much experience as possible and eventually playing at a tender age with the likes of, Ray Bryant, Bob Wilber, Barney Kessell, Pepper Adams and Chet Baker. His career snowballed and by 23 he was playing with most of the great Italian jazz musicians playing in as many as 8 different bands eventually touring for two years with pop artist Tony Esposito and already teaching at one of Rome’s most prestigious drum and percussion schools alongside the great Cuban drummer Horacio Hernandez. At 25 upon the death of his mother, John felt the need to come home to NYC where he found himself in the position of having to start his career in a sense from scratch not having actually lived there since his departure at the age of 14 even though he had kept contact with musicians he had met during his years in Italy.
He found a musical New York scene quite different from the one he imagined, frequenting the clubs and sessions around town. There was a sort of Jazz Renaissance with many of the current jazz players returning to the roots of the music. That meaning pianos, upright basses and instruments in general without amplification, but the scene offering an opportunity to re-think his musical foundation, this culminating in the choice of starting anew as well his musical instruction with New York’s drum guru Michael Carvin with whom he stayed with for three years. Around 1996 finding a penchant for composition, John recorded his first CD as a leader with his band Black Market alongside Henry Hey, Matthew Garrison, Larry Goldings and tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, who impressed with his playing style called him to join his group. 1998 finds him in the recording studio for Thomas’ project Pariah’s Pariah alongside Michael Formanek and Greg Osby, project that gives Arnold carte blanche musically. 2000 Opium. With the help of producer and pianist Henry Hey John gives birth to five years of compositional labor.
In 2002 John decides to move back to Rome and Europe in general working as a teacher and performer. 2006 brings LOGORHYTHMS, his anthem to electronic music and jazz with Jason Moran, Gary Thomas, David Binney, Uri Caine and a host of others. The CD is praised as q “revolutionary” and “courageous” by the critics and puts him in a new musical position regarding how his musical vision had been formatted in the past. Shortly thereafter John moves to Berlin to deepen his knowledge of electronic music where he will stay until 2009. John currently lives in the city Calcata 55 km’s outside of Rome.