American-born and raised, John Harkins, who moved to Sydney in 1994, is one of the most sought after jazz pianists in Australia today. He performs regularly with musicians such as Don Burrows, James Morrison, Dale Barlow and others.
He has solid credentials. He majored in classical piano at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City and has worked with many well known American jazz musicians, including tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton, singer Mark Murphy, and esteemed trumpeter Warren Vache (with whom he recorded "Easy Going" on the Concord Jazz label in 1987) to name a few.
In recent years John has been the Musical Director and pianist for the annual Australian tours of US jazz/blues singer Barbara Morrison . He is featured on her biggest selling CD, Live Down Under .
John was a soloist on Australian CD recordings of Blaine Whittaker's Hard Bop Cafe featuring James Morrison and The Andrew Speight Quartet , the 1999 ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album of the Year .
He also played and arranged on singer Danielle Gaha' s debut CD titled You Don't Know Me on Sony/BMG label (for clips on her web site click here ). He has been praised by jazzandbeyond.com.au for his arrangements and playing on singer Karlie Bruce's recent CD release on the LaBrava label.
In mid 2005, John was the pianist for the legendary Cleo Laine on her sold-out 3 week tour of Australia. The final concert was documented by the TV programme " 60 Minutes ". Also, John was the pianist for bassists Christian McBride and Robert Hurst's master classes held in Sydney in May and June, 2005.
This year, John released his self-titled all-singing CD. It highlights his vocal and arranging talents in addition to his swinging piano playing. A collection of both well known and obscure standards from the great American song book, it is a milestone in his career, putting him at the top of the list of singer/pianists anywhere in the world.
" … the appeal of the former Chicagoan's easy vocal stylings and fluent, swinging piano are infectious…his inventive, energetic piano playing is solidly in the tradition of the great pianists Hank Jones and Wynton Kelly". (The Weekend Australian, January 1996)