Classically trained, but with popular, jazz and rock experience and sensibilities, American pianist John Fresk’s career spans at least 40 years of professional performance in all aspects. In the U.S he worked with Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, to name two, and regularly does arrangements for major American jazz musicians such as Patrick Lamb. In South Africa, he worked as an arranger, musical director and pianist for major corporate events, classical soirees, the Johannesburg Big Band, the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and dozens of solo artists and ensembles. He has been the pianist for the TV show Strictly Come Dancing and has accompanied Ronan Keating at the Sun City Superbowl.
- In 2007, John placed in the preliminary rounds as Grammy nominee for his song-writing and keyboard work on the Northwest Dream Team’s Heavenly Brother CD, a collaborative fund-raising project produced in honor of Martin Luther King.
- Though now a resident of Prague and formerly a resident of Johannesburg, South Africa, he has fifty years’ experience as a musical director, pianist and event coordinator in the Northwest U.S., in South Africa, as well as touring in the both the U.S. and Canada.
- He has spent many years as a busy studio musician, recording both commercial advertising as well as producing CD projects for individual clients.
- He’s worked successfully with many corporate clients, including Nike, Intel, Boeing, Tektronix, Hewlett Packard, Kaiser Permanente, Mentor Graphics, Freightliner, Qualcomm, The Portland Art Museum, Mercedes Benz and many others.
Here is a listing of Jazz Artists that John has played piano with:
Bobby McFerrin … Leroy Vinegar … Patrick Lamb … Mel Brown … Glenn Moore … Herb Geller … Graham Lear … Nancy King … Shirley Nanette … Tall Jazz
John has also done extensive work as a big band jazz pianist with Les Elgart … Claude Gordon … Tex Beneke … The Modernaires … Ted Weems … Bob Crosby and others.
He’s accompanied many entertainers, such as:
Ronan Keating … Meri Wilson … Peter Marshall … Caleb Brooks … Don Cherry and others.
Jazz Concert Appearances:
- Performed at the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in 1989 and 1993
- Selected as a performer in “A Taste of Jazz,” a workshop and benefit for The Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Scholarship Fund
- Tall Jazz Annual Christmas Concert Series, 1992- 2002
- Featured artist, Jazz Society of Oregon Concert Series Finale
- Featured musician, The Byte of Oregon, 1998
- Featured performer at the Portland Rose Festival, 1995
- Appeared in Johannesburg as pianist in the Johannesburg Big Band through 2018
- Appeared as accompanist for the University of South Africa International Jazz Vocal Competition
Classical Concert Performances:
- Toured the Northwest with Coloratura Soprano Kelly Carroll as accompanist (primarily light opera and art songs)
- Featured soloist (twice) for Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” / Southwest Washington Symphony
Recording Experience & Discography
- Piano and vocal demo with Bobby McFerrin – Resulting in Bobby’s first major recording contract
- “Telephone Man” with singer Meri Wilson – Achieved “Gold Record” status and placed #17 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1977
- “How ‘Bout Now”, “Tall Jazz Plays Tall Jazz”, “Winter Jazz” and “Winter Jazz II” by Tall Jazz – Distributed internationally
- “Limelight” by John Fresk – Purchased and distributed by Nordstrom
- “Sun and Moon” by John Fresk – Purchased by and distributed by Nordstrom
- “Joyful Jazz” by John Fresk and Mike Horsfall – Received extensive airplay on smooth jazz stations throughout the region distributed nationwide by Lifedance Distribution and Nordstrom
- “Magic and Merriment” – Nationally distributed holiday CD produced by Nordstrom
- “Nordstrom Holiday Classics” – Nationally distributed holiday CD produced by Nordstrom
- “Fill Your Jukebox” – Compilation CD by NewTech Music
- “Keep On Walkin” radio single by KDB, a 10-piece funk band – Released nationally to more than 200 commercial radio stations. Within two weeks the single ranked #1 on the Gavin “Up and Coming” chart with 450+ plays a week nationally
- “Hangin’ With My Baby” radio single by KDB
- “FunkSoulJazzPopLatinRock” by KDB
- “Y2KDB” and “Nuwanda’s Trip” by KDB
- “RealGuide For RealJukebox” – Featured soloist on an Internet-distributed sampler by RealNetworks, Seattle, Washington
- “Looking Back” by Marilyn Dupree – all arranging and keyboard work – distributed nationally as a fund-raising project for the Altzheimer’s Association
- “With A Christmas Heart” by saxophonist Patrick Lamb – all arranging and keyboard work – extensive radio airplay and national distribution.
- Recently completed arranging, orchestration and keyboard work for gospel singer Debra Crowe’s CD, “I Will Be Waiting”
WAVELENGTH STUDIOS – Salem, Oregon,
KUNG FU BAKERY STUDIOS – Portland Oregon
Independent Studio and Producer, Keyboardist and Arranger
- Pianist, synthesist, and orchestral arranger for Christian artist Julie Hoy for her new CD “Joy In The Dancing”
- Producer, Pianist / big band arranger for Marilyn DuPrey’s CD, “Looking Back”, featuring songs by Gershwin and other standards
- Producer, Arranger and pianist for Nancy Sheldon Banks’ CD Spirit In My Heart.
MOUNT HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE – Gresham, Oregon
Adjunct Professor / Music Performance (3 years)
NORTH TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY – Denton, Texas
Composition Major / Minor in Jazz Piano Performance (4 years)
- Independent study with Tom Canning (Al Jarreau’s pianist) and Bill Evans (multiple Grammy-winning jazz pianist)
- Attended seminars in Jazz Study at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada