John yao quintet

“Adventurous, searching and yet accessible.”
— George Harris, Jazz Weekly

Progressive, melodic and unpredictable.  The John Yao Quintet features Yao's unique compositions, which are firmly rooted in the jazz tradition but not afraid to step out into the free-rider zone at times.  Yao’s music gives the players free rein to let loose all the while exploring the concepts of opposing forces—of chaos and order, together and apart, individual and group.  

Their 2013 release, In the Now (Innova), the Quintet received critical acclaim and in the summer of 2015 they returned to the studio to record their second album. Presence was released in the spring 2017 on See Tao Recordings featuring an entire set of new compositions exploring this group’s unique set of talents.  Currently the quintet has a monthly residency at Terraza 7 on the third Wednesday of each month. 

Praise for the John Yao Quintet:

“Yao, a clear rising star with a lot to say, never says the same thing twice on Presence.” Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

“[Presence] the title track is a model vehicle for Yao’s lyrical soloing and expressive round tone.  Yao’s most searching release to date, the album is marked by greater openness and ensemble elasticity.”  Jeff Potter, Downbeat

“Such good music, such strong compositions, such a good ensemble, Presence has all the ingredients to please and challenge an active listener . . . it gives one hope in the face of tragedy, inspiring us to continue to move forward.”  Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

“. . . incorporate(s) an insistently swinging Jazz Messengers vibe while also stepping into the free-rider zone at times.”  Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times

“Wow. Trombonist John Yao’s debut album [In the Now], and it is damn strong.  An album for old and new school jazz fans alike, and a terribly promising sign that this is Yao’s debut album.  I’m already looking forward to what comes next.”  David Sumner, Bird is the Worm

“Trombonist John Yao new quintet album, In the Now – out now from Innova – blends vivid tunefulness, clever composition and inspired teamwork. It’s accessible, but it’s also cerebral, and there’s also considerable wit here.”  Alan Young, Lucid Culture


2017 Release on See Tao Recordings

John Yao, Trombone & Compositions | John Irabagon, Alto, Soprano & Sopranino Saxes | Randy Ingram, Piano & Rhodes | Peter Brendler, Bass | Shawn Baltazor, Drums


2012 Release on Innova Recordings

John Yao, Trombone & Compositions | John Irabagon, Alto & Soprano  Saxes | Randy Ingram, Piano & Rhodes | Leon Boykins, Bass | Will Clark, Drums