John Yao & his 17-piece Instrument

[Flip-Flop] showcased Yao’s unpredictable compositions and inventive arrangements, which spring from tradition while pointing towards future portals.
—  Jeff Potter, Downbeat

Led by Trombonist, composer and arranger John Yao, the 17-piece ensemble features Yao's diverse compositions, which offer a broad view of the possibilities of jazz composition.  Yao aims to bring the big band into the future through his explorations of form, texture, color and twelve-tone composition techniques combined with swing, latin and funk grooves. Yao seeks to stretch the limits of big band jazz all while staying connected to traditional big band style. 

Comprised of NYC's finest jazz musicians, John Yao & His 17-piece Instrument has been active on the scene since 2013 and released it's debut recording Flip-Flop on See Tao Recordings. 

John Yao, Trombone & Compositions

Saxes - John O'Gallagher, Alejandro Aviles, Rich Perry, Jon Irabagon, Frank Basile

Trumpets - John Walsh, Jason Wiseman, David Smith, Andy Gravish

Trombones - Luis Bonilla, Matt McDonald, Tokunouri Kajiwara, Jennifer Wharton

Rhythm Section - Jesse Stacken, Robert Sabin, Vince Cherico 

*All compositions by John Yao, Yaotones Music (ASCAP)

Recorded for and released by:


Praise for Flip-Flop:

“At times angular and broken, other times linear and swinging, he offers a broad view of the possibilities of jazz composition.”  Jim McNeely, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

“Yao not only puts a fresh coat of paint to big band sounds, but redoes the foundation and expands a few rooms. Exciting through and through.”  George Harris, Jazz Weekly

“A must set for big band fans that want to hear something that takes the form in to the future, this blows the ears open in a mighty way.”  Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“At times burnished and melodious, at others loose and strident, it forms a colorful tapestry that is never less than alluring.”  Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

“It’s always cool to find a big band that really kicks and Yao’s 10 original tunes here are endlessly surprising, his arrangements always riveting.”  Jay Miller, Patriot Ledger

“Hold on tight for one of the wildest rides ever to shake up the big band genre.”  Ron Netsky, Rochester City Newspaper

“Boldly diverse, Yao's compositions cut across the swath of contemporary jazz's field, utilizing the big-band format to amalgamate a surprising range of styles and periods—sometimes within a single composition . . .perhaps most appealingly of all, it's anyone's guess where he will take us next.”  Franz Matzner, All About Jazz

“John Yao is one of New York’s elite trombonists, and . . .  is also a first-class, ambitious and witty composer and leader of his own all-star large ensemble, John Yao’s 17-Piece Instrument.”  Alan Young, Lucid Culture

". . .  quality straight-ahead jazz featuring exemplary writing and soloists. Yao's angular melodies build forcefully throughout his 10 original compositions." James Rozzi, Jazziz Magazine

Big band & Beyond Concert Series

Premiering New Works

In 2015, Yao founded the Big Band & Beyond Concert Series featuring the JY-17 premiering new for big band at each concert. The series goal is to further new works in the genre and to offer a broad view of the possibilities of jazz composition.  The Series has completed it's first season comprised of three concerts with the next season in the works for 2018.  Stay tuned for more details.  

Kickstarter funded!

In 2016, John ran a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $10,000 to fundthree concerts of the 2016-17 Big Band & Beyond Concert Series inaugural season.  I'm happy to share we exceeded our goal and raised $11,141!  Thanks to all of you who supported the campaign.  Stay tuned for more info about the next season of the Big Band & Beyond Concert Series. 

Fill out the form below to find out how you can support the Big Band & Beyond Concert Series.

Name *