|Born||October 8, 1963
Canadian-born Jon Ballantyne started playing piano at a very early age and began formal study at the age of six. His father is also a pianist and both parents are jazz enthusiasts, therefore Jon was hearing the recordings of greats such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Duke Ellington from the beginning of his life. He vividly remembers an Oscar Peterson concert his mother took him to at the age of five.
After the early years of trying to "cop" his father's blues-based approach to piano, classical piano studies, and a stint in a garage rock band as a young teenager, Jon decided to more thoroughly investigate the art form of jazz. This quest led to his winning of a scholarship to attend North Texas State University. As an honors student there, Ballantyne was asked to play in small group formats with visiting artists Elvin Jones, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, Nat Adderley, Michael Brecker, Emily Remler, Bob Mintzer and Peter Erskine.
At the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, Jon studied and played with Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Ed Blackwell, Lee Konitz, Cecil Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Don Thompson, Julian Priester, Karl Berger, Eddie Marshall and Steve Coleman. He also studied in New York with Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Richie Beirach, Hal Galper and JoAnn Brackeen.
This period of intensive study naturally led to a performance career, and Jon often shared (and shares) the stage or recording studio with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Joe Henderson, Roy Haynes, Dewey Redman, Pepper Adams, Billy Hart, Paul Bley, Gene Jackson, Ben Street, Mick Goodrick, Scott Colley, Reid Anderson, Avashai Cohen, Craig Handy, Don Braden, George Garzone, Drew Gress, Doug Weiss, Krister Andersson, Joe LaBarbara, Charles Fambrough, Rich Perry, Phil Dwyer, Benny Wallace, Ray Drummond, Ben Perowsky, Terry Clarke, The Mingus Big Band, Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, Clark Terry, Al Cohn, Red Mitchell, Jimmy Guiffre, Al Grey, Shorty Rodgers, Buddy DeFranco, Joe Lovano, Jim Rotundi, P.J. Perry, Don Thompson, Jerry Fuller, Neil Swainson, Ed Bickert, Yannick Rieu, Mike Allen and Richard Stoltzman. Traveling often, Jon has performed in eight European countries (including the UK), Japan, Korea, most provinces in Canada, and more than 40 states in the U.S.A.
As a six-year resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, Jon also played countless afternoon jam sessions (he cites this as a creatively fertile time-"the musicians were really intent on experimentation") in his studio apartment with young musicians, most of them neighbors, such as Mark Turner, Seamus Blake, Donny McAslin, Bill Carrothers, Hugh Sicotte, John McKenna, Dave Pietro, Tony Scherr, Johannes Weidenmueller, Marc Miralta, Matt Wilson, Owen Howard, Jay Rosen and Phil Haynes.
Jon has also conducted educational clinics at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at various universities such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, McGill University, University of Toronto and Concordia University, Montreal.
Jon has recorded Nine Jazz albums/CDs and has received 2 Juno Awards (a Canadian Music Award) for the album Sky Dance, featuring the legendary saxophone player Joe Henderson and also for "Avenue Standard" which won the 2007 JUNO AWARD for best Traditional Jazz album.
His two latest works are under the r.a.w Label (real artist works inc.), the first is a selection of solo piano jazz standards titled "Avenue Standard" The 2007 JUNO AWARD WINNER for best Traditional Jazz album.
The second release "Ever Since Now" is a solo piano jazz recording of original compositions.