John Royen's New Orleans Rhythm

  • 1:15pm / April, 13th 2014
    View Map

    Where Y'at Magazine Stage

Originally from Washington, D.C., John Royen as an up and coming young jazz pianist, moved to New Orleans in 1976 to learn from and play with the best jazz musicians in the country. He was fortunate enough to study with the great Don Ewell and to pick up some important pointers from the likes of Joe Turner and Washington D.C. pianist, John Eaton. Since his arrival in New Orleans, he has been a fixture on the jazz scene here, both as a popular on-call pianist and as a core member of most of the well-known jazz groups.

He learned his style under the tutelage of jazz legend Don Ewell, who performed with such jazz greats as “Bunk” Johnson and Jack Teagarden. Popular drummer Hal Smith after a jazz tour throughout Germany, commented, “John Royen was the personification of a Harlem piano tickler.” A sharp dresser, supremely confident of his talent, with good reason, and able to wash any upstart pianists away”.

In German jazz clubs, his piano mastery recalled the sounds of the great Don Ewell, as he strung together well-thought-out medleys of numbers associated with Morton, Waller and Hines. I pity any pianist who ever has to follow John Royen in a cutting contest! It is a lucky musical group which secures his services.

Today, John Royen is continuing the stride piano tradition. He has performed, toured and recorded with many contemporary jazz greats including Bobby Gordon, Pete Fountain, The Dukes of Dixieland, The Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, Duke Heitger’s Steamboat Stompers, Tim Laughlin and Independence Hall Jazz Band. Additionally, John has performed and recorded with all of the major jazz groups in New Orleans, and internationally, with many renowned groups. John has been playing for over 20 years with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and has performed at the Kennedy Center, the U.S. State Department, the National Press Club, the Smithsonian Institution, the New Orleans Historical Jazz Park, and numerous universities, theaters and performing arts centers around the country, in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Canada.

John enjoys spending most of his time performing in New Orleans and the surrounding area. He has released a solo piano CD titled “Solo Tradition”. John has received local and national recognition for his playing and has performed in over 15 countries around the world. He has lectured for many public and private organizations including the Louis Armstrong Foundation and the National Park Service, as well as numerous jazz festivals and associations.

Having an extensive knowledge of jazz history, John can deliver a variety of musical presentations, from a solo or ensemble jazz performance to a lecture on early jazz and its development. With over 25 years of experience, he can draw on the finest musicians from New Orleans and around the country to assemble a variety of jazz groups for any type of function.