New York City bassist John Menegon started his career playing bass in Montreal. After having worked for several years on the Canadian jazz scene with the great guitarists Sonny Greenwich, Mike Gauthier & Nelson Simons, and saxophonists Steve Grossman & Pat LaBarbara, he went on to hone his skills in NYC in the mid-80s. Since moving to New York to study Jazz at Long Island University on a full scholarship, John has performed/recorded with Dewey Redman, David “Fathead” Newman, Matt Wilson, Frank Kimbrough, John Hicks, Yoron Israel, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Burrell, Joel Frahm, Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Paul Bley, Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Orchestra, Nick Brignola, Jimmy Cobb, Al Foster, Slide Hampton, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, and many others. In addition to touring, recording, and composing,  he has created and taught Jazz Workshops on the music of Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus at Williams College (Williamstown, MA). He has also taught master classes at Jazz Festivals around the world, including the Panama Jazz Festival, Bolzano, (Italy) and San Miguel de Allende.

Menegon's latest release "Blew By Blues" with his group "Quartet East" was released on Dot Time records in 2017 and features John on bass, Joel Frahm on tenor/sop sax, Frank Kimbrough on piano, and Steve Williams on drums, with special guest vocalists Teri Roiger, Judi Silvano, Sarah James and Maryanne de Prophetis. 

His 2014 release "I Remember You" (Inner Circle Music) includes dedications to some of the musicians who have influenced him musically and creatively over the years. The CD features Menegon on bass and compositions, Tineke Postma on alto/soprano sax, Frank Kimbrough on piano and Matt Wilson on drums, with special guest Teri Roiger on two vocals. This release received a four-star review in Downbeat (April 2014): "Canadian-bred John Menegon is in the line of George Mraz and Michael Moore; a harmonically sophisticated bassist with technical facility who swings hard when it’s called for."

His recording "New Moon" is a reflection of his many years of love and dedication to the process of creating personal and engaging music that can help to propel positive energy in the world. The recording took place at Upland Studio, deep in the mountains of the Catskills in Upstate New York. The CD was recorded in two sessions: the first session included Harvey Sorgen and Bob Meyer, each playing their own drum kit, along with Jonathan Lorentz on alto sax, tenor sax, and wood flute, vocalist Teri Roiger, and John on bass. The concept going into the recording was to have all the musicians engage in creating a musical spectrum based on shapes that sometimes look like equations in regard to velocity, rhythm, and intensity. The musicians challenged each other with spontaneity, dynamic range, and self expression. Included in the recording are two compositions that engage the spoken word: LOST IN TREBLE LAND is based on a poem I wrote while spending a month in Montreal (Canada) in the late summer of 2009. APOLOGY was composed around a poem written by Teri Roiger for the session. The second session included Michael Bocian on electric guitar, along with Jonathan Lorentz on tenor sax, Bob Meyer on drums, and John on bass. All these musicians have been inspirational, as they all work toward a common goal of creating music with spontaneity.

Menegon played on and arranged vocalist Teri Roiger’s two latest releases: "GHOST OF YESTERDAY: Shades of Lady Day" (Dot Time Records, 2017) and "DEAR ABBEY: The Music of Abbey Lincoln" (Inner Circle Music, 2012). Both have been released to great critical acclaim.

In 2005 John recorded SOUL ADVICE, a CD of original compositions written by the musicians in the band: Mark Dziuba (guitar), John Gunther (bass clarinet, tenor & soprano sax), Tani Tabbal (drums), and Menegon (bass). “This is a brilliant release full of rich composition and arrangement…when you have a strong well-rounded bassist like John Menegon composing, arranging, and laying down the serious low-end vibes, the music naturally flows out and around and back again seeking its root.” John Trent, Chronogram

In 2004 Menegon debuted as a leader on his CD SEARCH LIGHT. The CD is a selection of his original compositions and arrangements, and features one of jazz's greatest living legends, Dewey Redman (sax), along with John Gunther (sax/flute), Mark Dziuba (guitar), Mark McLean (drums), Tani Tabbal (percussion) and Teri Roiger (voice). “John Menegon’s Search Light is witty, atmospheric, and thoroughly engaging from one end to the other. On Search Light, John Menegon shows, without self-indulgence, that the bass can define the character of an ensemble as clearly and fully as any other instrument. The entire project has a surefootedness, a quiet, elegant, muscularity that radiates from Mr. Menegon’s own playing, and that is immediately apparent and compelling. The band is made up entirely of accomplished players, the best known being, in fact, saxophonist Dewey Redman, who is, once again, brilliant, and wonderful.” Steven Robinson, All About Jazz

In 2005 Menegon played at the Montreal Jazz Festival with Pat Metheny and Dewey Redman, performing music from Metheny’s CD 80/81. John also played at the Festival with the Dewey Redman Quartet featuring Matt Wilson on drums and Frank Kimbrough on piano, which was acclaimed by the critics as the best performance of the entire 2005 Festival: “MENEGON met the demands of the music with a combination of relaxed swing and more outward-looking freedom. His solos were the perfect confluence of rhythmic invention and melodic conception.” John Kelman, AllAboutJazz-New York

In 2011 Menegon composed and scored music for the critically acclaimed documentary BEYOND ICONIC about the legendary photographer Dennis Stock, directed by Hanna Sawka.

John built and operates a recording studio in Marbletown, NY, called UPLAND STUDIO.

In the summer of 2011, Menegon & Roiger created an ongoing Jazz Series in Woodstock called JAZZSTOCK, presenting local, national, and international musicians to audiences in the Hudson Valley. This series of concerts and workshops continue to this day. www.jazzstock.com

MORE QUOTES

Review from The Paradiso Cafe, Ottawa, Canada with JOHN ABERCROMBIE: ”Menegon, best-known for his work with two now-departed and almost diametrically opposed saxophone greats in the latter parts of their careers—Dewey Redman and David "Fathead" Newman, whose swan song, The Blessing (HighNote, 2010) came out earlier this year—was, perhaps, the biggest surprise of the evening, if only because of an audience familiar with Abercrombie (for obvious reasons), and with the Montreal-based Doxas brothers, because of their regular Ottawa appearances in a variety of contexts, together and alone. With a robust tone that supported deep, resonant low notes as much as it did lither excursions in the instrument's upper register, Menegon created both a pliant and unshakable foundation, and an equal extemporaneous partner who, as much as anyone else in the quartet, pushed and pulled the music to new and unexpected places.”

“A fine carpet of swing laid by bassist John Menegon sets the jump-blues feel
on Menegon’s tune Bu Bop Bass just right on Newman’s latest CD Cityscape #1 on JazzWeek Charts!” Andrew Rowan, AllAboutJazz-New York

“John Menegon’s offerings on upright bass flowered with generous solo escapades to engrossing feats of accompaniment.” METROLAND

DISCOGRAPHY

As a leader...

BLEW BY BLUES (John Menegon, Dot Time Records 2017) John Menegon (bass), Joel Frahm (sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Steve Williams (drums), special guest vocalists Teri Roiger, Judi Silvano, Sarah James, MaryAnne de Prophetic

I REMEMBER YOU (John Menegon, Inner Circle Music 2014) John Menegon (bass), Tineke Postma (alto & soprano sax), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Matt Wilson (drums), special guest Teri Roiger (voice)

SOUL ADVICE (John Menegon, Maki Records, 2006)  John Menegon (bass), John Gunther (sax & bass clarinet), Mark Dziuba (guitar) Tani Tabbal (drums)

SEARCH LIGHT (John Menegon, Maki Records, 2004) John Menegon (bass), Dewey Redman (sax), John Gunther (sax), Mark Dziuba (guitar) Mark McLean (drums), Tani Tabbal (drums and percussion), Teri Roiger (voice)

His recording "New Moon" is a reflection of his many years of love and dedication to the process of creating personal and engaging music that can help to propel positive energy in the world. The recording took place at Upland Studio, deep in the mountains of the Catskills in Upstate New York. The CD was recorded in two sessions: the first session included Harvey Sorgen and Bob Meyer, each playing their own drum kit, along with Jonathan Lorentz on alto sax, tenor sax, and wood flute, vocalist Teri Roiger, and John on bass. The concept going into the recording was to have all the musicians engage in creating a musical spectrum based on shapes that sometimes look like equations in regard to velocity, rhythm, and intensity. The musicians challenged each other with spontaneity, dynamic range, and self expression. Included in the recording are two compositions that engage the spoken word: LOST IN TREBLE LAND is based on a poem I wrote while spending a month in Montreal (Canada) in the late summer of 2009. APOLOGY was composed around a poem written by Teri Roiger for the session. The second session included Michael Bocian on electric guitar, along with Jonathan Lorentz on tenor sax, Bob Meyer on drums, and John on bass. All these musicians have been inspirational, as they all work toward a common goal of creating music with spontaneity.

GHOST OF YESTERDAY: Shades of Lady Day (Teri Roiger, Dot Time Records, 2017) Teri Roiger (voice), Wayne Hawkins (piano), John Menegon (bass & arrangements), Steve Williams (drums), Steve Gorn (clarinet & Bansuri flute), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Jay Collins (sax/flute), Mark Dziuba (guitar), Rebecca Coupe-Franks (trumpet), Abdou Mboup (percussion)

NYHAVN LIVE (RANDY SIMON JAZZ PROJECT 2013), Rob Lindquist (piano), Kevin Barcomb (tenor,alto sax), Dylan Canterbury (trumpet,flugelhorn), John Menegon (bass), Danny Whelchel (drums).

DEAR ABBEY: THE MUSIC OF ABBEY LINCOLN (Teri Roiger, Inner Circle Music, 2012) Teri Roiger (voice), Frank Kimbrough (piano), John Menegon (bass & arranger), Steve Williams (drums), Greg Osby (alto sax), Mark Dziuba (guitar)

BORDERLANDS (Jonathon Lorentz, 2011) John Menegon (bass), David Clarko (drums), (Jonathon Lorentz (Tenor sax).

KARIBU (Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard, 2011) John Menegon (bass), Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius (piano/voice), Jonathon Greene (clarinet/saxophones), Rebecca Kleinmann (flutes), John Ehlis (guitar/mandolin), Brian Melick (percussion), Zorkie Nelson (percussion/voice), Jeffery Parker, Dan Vidali (cello)

OLD PATHS...NEW ROADS (Robert Lindquist, 2009) John Menegon (bass), Jeff Dowd (drums), Robert Lindquist (piano).

LIFE (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2007) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Menegon (bass), David Leonhardt (piano) Peter Bernstein (guitar), Steve Nelson (vibes), Yoron Israel (drums)

CITYSCAPE (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2006) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Menegon (bass), David Leonhardt (piano) Howard Johnson (baritone sax), Yoron Israel (drums)

I REMEMBER BROTHER RAY (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2005) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Hicks (piano), John Menegon (bass) Steve Nelson (vibes), Winard Harper (drums)

STILL LIFE (Teri Roiger, Maki Records, 2005)  Teri Roiger (voice), Frank Kimbrough (piano), John Menegon (bass), Gil Goldstein (accordion) Matt Wilson (drums)

DEWEY REDMAN’S GUGGENHEIM GRANT PROJECT (August 2004) A recording at Ornette Coleman’s studio featuring Dewey Redman, JOHN MENEGON (bass), Joe Lovano, Michael Bocian, Leroy Jenkins, Pharoan Aklaff Matt Wilson, Amina Claudine Meyers, Teri Roiger, Judi Silvano, Lydija Redman and others

SONG FOR THE NEW MAN (David Fathead Newman, HighNote Records, 2004) David Fathead Newman (sax and flute), John Hicks (piano), John Menegon (bass) Curtis Fuller (trombone), Jimmy Cobb (drums)

ANTHONY BRAXTON’S TRILLIUM R, composition no. 162, (Opera In Four Acts, 1991)

FIFTH HOUSE (collaborative project released on Imaginary Records, 2000) John Menegon (bass), Adam Rafferty (guitar), Jeff Siegel (drums)

MISTERIOSO (Teri Roiger/John Menegon, King Records in Japan and Maki Records in the US, 1998)  Teri Roiger (voice), Kenny Burrell (guitar), John Menegon (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums)

THROW OUT THE LIFE LINE (Linda Gibbs/Pat McKearn, 2000)  

IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU (Sarah James, 1995)

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upcoming gigs

Oct 17
Senate Garage
Kingston, NY
Oct 18
Smalls Jazz Club
New York, NY
Oct 19
Smalls Jazz Club
New York, NY
Oct 23
Lexington Hotel
New York, New York
Oct 26
Hugh's Room
Toronto, ON

John Menegon Quartet "New Conceptions" Review

FEB 2019 New York City Jazz Record

The wide-open architecture that is Jazz at Kitano played host to echoes of the Jet Age and the sounds were utterly classic (Jan. 12th). These days, George Shearing is sadly overlooked, though 2019 marks his centenary; in his time, the pianist held international celebrity. His decidedly clean, modern jazz tightly arranged with vibraphone/piano/guitar lead eludes today’s rapid-fire attention span, so bassist John Menegon’s tribute was a refreshing antidote. In a set comprising repertoire of the Shearing Quintet, or similar Menegon originals, the ensemble offered airy versions of “Hallelujah”, “Oh Look at Me Now”, “Born to Be Blue”, “The Nearness of You” and “Lullaby of Birdland”. Propelled by the crisp, prodigious drumming of Yoron Israel (who softly took the music well beyond that of forbearer Denzil Best), the band’s time-warp featured solos by thrilling pianist John DiMartino and the leader. But up front was vibraphonist Steve Nelson, an alumnus of Shearing’s ‘80s band. His brilliant shimmer and dead-on melodic command allowed for a dose of nostalgia, but his forwardlooking approach has always recalled Bobby Hutcherson rather than Margie Hyams or Emil Richards, present during the mid-century glory days. A highlight was “Basso Profundo”, composed for Shearing by then-bassist John Levy: Menegon’s melodic line and masterful improv, as well as the band’s unison stop-time sections—a Shearing hallmark—made for a stunning performance. (JP) John Pietaro