New Orleans Jazz Piano
Originally from Washington, D.C., John Royen as an up and coming young jazz pianist, moved to New Orleans in 1976 to learn from and play with the best jazz musicians in the country. He was fortunate enough to study with the great Don Ewell and to pick up some important pointers from the likes of Joe Turner and Washington D.C. pianist, John Eaton. Since his arrival in New Orleans, he has been a fixture on the jazz scene here, both as a popular on-call pianist and as a core member of most of the well-known jazz groups.
He learned his style under the tutelage of jazz legend Don Ewell, who performed with such jazz greats as “Bunk” Johnson and Jack Teagarden. Popular drummer Hal Smith after a jazz tour throughout Germany, commented, “John Royen was the personification of a Harlem piano ‘tickler.’ A sharp dresser, supremely confident of his talent—with good reason—and able to wash any upstart pianists away….
German jazz clubs, his piano mastery recalled the sounds of the great Don
Ewell, as he strung together well-thought-out medleys of numbers associated
with Morton, Waller and Hines… I pity any pianist who ever has to follow
John Royen in a cutting contest!…It is a lucky musical
group which secures his services.”
Today, John Royen is
continuing the stride piano tradition. He has performed, toured and
recorded with many contemporary jazz greats including Bobby Gordon, Pete
Fountain, The Dukes of Dixieland, The Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble,
Duke Heitger's Steamboat Stompers, Tim Laughlin and Independence Hall Jazz
Additionally, John has performed and recorded with all of the major jazz
groups in New Orleans, and internationally, with many renowned groups.
John has been playing for
over 20 years with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and
has performed at the Kennedy Center, the U.S. State Department, the National
Press Club, the Smithsonian Institution, the New Orleans Historical Jazz
Park, and numerous universities, theaters and performing arts centers around
the country, in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Canada.
John enjoys spending most of his time performing in New Orleans and
the surrounding area. He has released a solo piano CD titled “Solo Tradition”.
John has received local and national recognition for his playing and
has performed in over 15 countries around the world.
He has lectured for many public and private organizations including
the Louis Armstrong Foundation and the National Park Service, as well as
numerous jazz festivals and associations.
Having an extensive knowledge of jazz history, John can deliver a
variety of musical presentations, from a solo or ensemble jazz performance
to a lecture on early jazz and its development.
With over 25 years of experience, he can draw on the finest musicians
from New Orleans and around the country to assemble a variety of jazz groups
for any type of function.