John Proulx on Piano Jazz The jazz scene is abuzz about singer/pianist/composer John Proulx. His piano playing is hot and swinging, and his voice recalls the smooth mellow sounds of Chet Baker. He shows off his compositional skills, performing his own tune, "Stuck in a Dream with Me." Hear the performance.
NPR logo John Proulx on Piano Jazz

John Proulx on Piano Jazz

John Proulx in studio on Piano Jazz

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John Proulx in studio on Piano Jazz

Audio is no longer available

John Proulx. William Claxton hide caption

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William Claxton

Set List

  • "Alice In Wonderland" (Fain, Hilliard)
  • "Moon and Sand" (Wilder, Engvick, Palitz)
  • "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me" (Ellington, Russell)
  • "Look for the Silver Lining" (DeSylva, Kern)
  • "Stuck In A Dream" (Proulx, K.L. Dunham)
  • "In The Days of Our Love" (McPartland, Lee)
  • "Melancholy Mood" (McPartland)
  • "These Golden Years" (Proulx)
  • "Reunion" (Mulligan)

John Proulx was born into a family of guitar players. Both of his parents played, and his grandfather was a jazz guitarist who had a gig as a young man with the Clyde McCoy Big Band. There were frequent jam sessions at Proulx's childhood home in Grand Rapids, Mich.

His parents started his music education early, enrolling him in Suzuki violin lessons at age 3. While the Suzuki method developed his ear, his mother felt it necessary to develop his music-reading abilities too, so she signed him up for piano lessons. Proulx's early musical experiences also included singing in various choirs, choruses and musical theater productions at school and around town.

Proulx attended Aquinas Collage in Grand Rapids for two years before making the move to Chicago, where he studied piano and voice at Roosevelt University's Chicago School of Performing Arts. He stayed on at the school after graduation, as an adjunct faculty member in the jazz department. He also became a fixture at jazz clubs in and around Chicago.

Proulx moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and has been making a name for himself on the scene there ever since. His singing style — a smooth tenor voice lacking vibrato and ornamentation — has elicited comparisons with Chet Baker, though commentators also recognize Proulx's expressiveness and exceptional technique on the piano. His MaxJazz debut CD, Moon and Sand, features bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Joe LaBarbera backing Proulx on jazz standards as well as several Proulx originals.

Originally recorded Oct. 16, 2006.

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