John Yao

The XO 1634 Trombone is a joy to play and the sound is so warm and clear. It never gets in the way of me fully expressing myself musically.
John Yao


For over a decade, John Yao has been honing his talents as a trombonist, composer, and arranger, and cementing his place on the New York City jazz scene. Yao’s lyrical soloing and expressive, round tone, combined with his relentless drive to push the boundaries of harmony and rhythm, have established him as a unique and forward-thinking jazz talent.  All About Jazz calls Yao “an evolving artist who continues to grow at a rapid pace.”  Masterfully leading and composing the music for both his large and small ensemble, Yao has released three albums since 2012 with a fourth coming out in the Fall of this year.  The first was John Yao Quintet’s debut album “In the Now” followed by “Presence” in 2017.  In between, Yao released his first triumphant big band album “Flip Flop” with John Yao and His 17-piece Instrument in 2015.

As a trombonist, Yao has worked extensively as a sideman for Grammy-award winning New York City ensembles, such as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.  He has also performed with such esteemed musicians as Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, Danilo Perez, Chris Potter, and Kurt Elling, among many others.

As a composer, Yao is staff arranger for the JMI Jazz World Orchestra and has been commissioned by Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and numerous other ensembles both educational and professional.  He is currently an Adjunct Faculty at Molloy College and Queens College.  

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