"His playing is as good as you’ll find anywhere and his teaching spans a variety of important subjects." - Ignacio Berroa
John Zappa is a performer and educator. At Northern Kentucky University, he teaches trumpet, Jazz Theory, Arranging, Jazz History, Composition, Improvisation and Jazz Appreciation as well as coaching a variety of ensembles. As an educator, Zappa has written a text book for Jazz Appreciation and developed Jazz Theory and Arranging courses to fit the needs of the students at NKU. He also developed a course called Composition For Commercial Media which blends composition with technology. Many of Zappa’s former students have gone on to successful performing careers and some as successful music educators. His trumpet students range from serious jazz players to lead/commercial players and classical players looking for better technique.
He also maintains a performing schedule and has appeared throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. Zappa’s professional credits as a trumpeter run the gambit of musical styles and ensembles. While primarily a jazz trumpeter appearing regularly with several big bands and jazz combos, he also plays with salsa bands, concert orchestras, pit orchestras, and show bands. John is also an accomplished studio musician recording music for theme parks and T.V. commercials as well recording for various album projects which have included the Grammy nominated “When Bullfrogs Croak” by Zach Morgan and “We Want the Funk” by Bootsy Collins for the movie “Undercover Brother.”
Zappa has recorded his own music on albums including “Not Too Slow, Not Too Fast” and “Moon and Shadow” with famed and legendary Cuban drummer, Ignacio Berroa. Another album called “Now Hear This” is also the name of his band that features his original compositions and arrangements that explore world beat rhythms in a contemporary jazz setting. John has worked consistently as a band leader fronting dance bands of different sorts as well as jazz groups for 22+ years. One such group featured the drummer of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton fame John Von Ohlen.
John has performed a variety of concerts with headliners including Don Rickles, Eddie Money, Wayne Newton, Leslie Gore, The Temptations, The O’Jay’s and Frankie Vallie, in addition to jazz concerts with well-known artists including Joe Henderson, Clark Terry, Ignacio Berroa, Jimmy Heath, Lew Soloff, Terell Stafford and Jeff Coffin.