What Others Say

John Cocuzzi, vibraphone, piano, drums, vocals

What Others Say About John Cocuzzi

John Cocuzzi on piano


“My father
always wanted
to learn the piano but
didn’t really have an
opportunity to do so
in his childhood,
so he got piano
lessons for me when
I was 8 years old.
I studied with my
first teacher,
Mrs. Sturgis,
in Cheverly, MD.
(Thank you
Mrs. Sturgis!)
I had a lesson every
Saturday morning
at her house.
Then, I studied
with Mr. Pollack
for 6 years.
(Thank you
Mr. Pollack!)
When I heard his
8-year-old son
play Bach on the
'good' piano upstairs,
I realized
I wasn’t cut out to be
a classical pianist,
so I spent my time
learning and
listening to jazz.
Mr. Pollack
finally lost patience
with me improvising
Bach’s music,
and the rest
is history."



MusiciansRecording ProsEvent CoordinatorsAudience


Besides having a marvelous ear for harmony, John Cocuzzi has fire, enthusiasm, and speed with the mallets. He also plays fine piano.
Guitarist for Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Artie Shaw (quoted from Steve's book, Rhythm Man: Fifty Years in Jazz)
Click here to view this quote from Steve's book.

Alan [Dale] and John [Cocuzzi] have assembled a pure swing group of classic form that generates a music that is agreeable to everyone, young and old. They reflect the honesty and purity of good, hard-swinging music. These Gentlemen of Jazz are both preserving and invigorating what has become a perishable art.
Drummer for Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, and others.

As a musician, bandleader and former jazz club owner, I've known and worked with thousands of musicians within the past 50 years. Both as a musician and entertainer, John ranks with the greatest of them. The rapport that he has with his fellow musicians and his audience only occurs in the top echelon of entertainers and reminds me of the days when musicians had a passion for what they were doing. John is completely unselfish, sharing his joy and his talent with everyone. He is a gem!!!    
— ED POLCER, Cornet (NY)

John Cocuzzi is one of the baddest musicians on the planet—certainly the best in the D.C. area, whether it's vibes or piano.  I'm glad he doesn't live in Nashville, or else I'd be out of work!
(Nashville session-piano player/Band Leader for Delbert McClinton)

John Cocuzzi and I have been working together for almost 20 years. He is one of the most brilliant musicians I ever had the privilege of working with. (If only he'd find the pedal on the vibes and get a haircut, everything would be perfect.) ;-)
— ALLAN VACHÉ, Clarinet (FL)

John Cocuzzi is on his way to being the next Dr. John, John Pizzarelli and Lionel Hampton, all rolled up into one, while still maintaining his own "voice" within the world of music.    

John is an extremely rare triple-threat instrumentalist on vibes, piano and drums. He's utterly swinging on all three, though I consider him to be the world's swingingest vibist.    

Versatility, virtuosity and passion: This is what you need to know about the music of John Cocuzzi.   
— JEFF BARNHART, Piano / Vocals (CT)

John Cocuzzi is a musician of unquestionalble taste. He breathes new life into the classic tunes of the 40s and 50s with a style that echoes of the greats, yet creates anew. This cat just Swings!
— PAUL SCIMONELLI, Music Professor

John is one of the finest musicians I know. He is highly respected by the musicians who work with him. When I have the opportunity to work with John, the level of my playing seems to raise. He brings musicianship, energy, and excitement to the music, which transfers to the musicians who are on stage with him. As his father, I am so proud of him.

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I am in the business of producing the best jazz that I can, following Bob Haggart's valuable advice: "Never fool around with anything but the best when it comes to Jazz!" John Cocuzzi is the best jazz vibesman on this planet today.
In addition to his "vibesmanship," John Cocuzzi is an inventive, first-class jazz pianist, and a vocalist of renowned breadth of versatility, making him a triple threat, even without his percussionary talents.
However, John's personality outshines his considerable musical ability! Soft spoken, mannerful and thoughtful, I find that John Cocuzzi is a good friend—and a grateful one, as well! For the coming decade, I believe Mr. Cocuzzi's fame to be just beginning, and I hope to be one of his most ardent "cheerleaders"!
Unfortunately, they broke the mold when he was made; he's one of a kind! A true multi-faceted gem!
— BARKER HICKOX, Pres. of World Jazz Recordings

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After watching your entire performance, I witnessed the standing ovation your group received from our guests—something I had never seen before with our other concerts. It was not surprising, as the quality of the music was that of true professionalism and true musicianship...You broke the mold and raised the standards by which all bands will now be hired and looked at for our program.
— CORREINE MOORE, Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, MD

John Cocuzzi is a fabulous musician and entertainer who can do it all—vibes, piano and vocals. He answers the question of who will replace Lionel Hampton as the world's greatest vibes player.
— DAVID COOPER, Dir. of the San Diego Jazz Party

My partner, Debra Sternberg, and I operate John has played for us for years and never fails to deliver the goods: GREAT MUSIC that keeps the crowd swinging all night long. His ability to sing, play piano, and vibes makes for a never-dull evening.
TOM KOERNER, President of Gottaswing, LLC
(The biggest swing dance promoters and instructors in the US.)

My personal thanks go out to John and his musicians for making me look good with little effort or concern on my part.
— TOM MILLER, President, Crystal City Jazz Celebration for which John Cocuzzi has been Producer / Music Director / Musician since 2003.

John is a wonderful player and a nice man. He was a tremendous asset to the 2006 Sweet & Hot Music Festival. Even my 15-year-old grandson loved him.
— WALLY HOLMES, Dir. of Sweet & Hot Music Fest., Los Angeles, CA

John is the one who makes the Atlanta Jazz Party what it is. We provide the venue, and he does the rest!
— PHIL CARROLL, Director of the Atlanta Jazz Party

John has helped us to bring high quality music to our community.
— SCOTT KOONS, Gainesville Friends of Jazz & Blues

If I have any influence on the choice of music at our next show, John will be at the top of the list.
— MEL ROBINSON, Art Dir. Club of New Jersey

Once you've seen John Cocuzzi perform, you'll want to check his website schedule to see when that “next time live” will be…or buy his CDs so you can listen to this fabulous music at home.
I have been a John Cocuzzi enthusiast for many years, following him to local spots in my hometown of Washington, DC and traveling to jazz parties to hear him play with nationally acclaimed artists. John always stands out with superb performances—an exciting vibraphonist, dynamic pianist, innovative vocalist, engaging performer, world-class musician and composer. He surrounds himself with the best musicians—an evening of John Cocuzzi music delights his audience. I always want to hear more.
— SUE GRESHAM, Co-Chair, Jazz Club at the Univ. Club of Wash., DC

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Pianist/vibist John Cocuzzi and drummer Alan Dale believe in yesterday and play like there's no tomorrow.
WASHINGTON POST, August 20, 1993

John Cocuzzi is a versatile, talented multi-instrumentalist jazz musician who, with some other very talented musicians, stretches out for an entertaining 60-minutes-plus of solid, straight-ahead jazz music on this very good album, Swingin' and Burnin'.
— DAVE NATHAN, "All About Jazz" Web site

Cocuzzi plays a Forties-era Deagan vibraphone made of steel bars (rather than the lighter aluminum models that followed), and the thing rings and glows like nothing we've heard on record.
— FRED KAPLAN, "The Absolute Sound"

John Cocuzzi really swings!
ERIC BRACE, "Washington Post"

Cocuzzi's vibes tribute to Hampton, "Midnight Sun," was played with a distinctive harmonic approach.
DOUG RAMSEY, "Rifftides" from Arts Journal weblog

It's been my good fortune to have produced jazz concerts involving John Cocuzzi, and to witness his performances at jazz parties and jazz festivals. In every instance, he has shown to be the consummate professional. His command of a vibraphone and piano, as well as being a fine "shy-guy" vocalist, makes him a triple-threat musician whose enthusiasm and engaging personality brighten any room in which he performs. In short, John is the closest to Red Norvo we have today. And we're lucky to have him.
— CAM MILLER, Freelance Jazz Journalist
"The Amercan" (monthly); "The Californian" (30,000 daily); "North County Times" (100,000 daily)

This was our first exposure to JOHN COCUZZI, and he really knocked [us] out. He sang quite well... Cocuzzi plays good drums, too, and his vibraphone work is beyond description.
— BOB LYNN, "The Mississippi Rag"

"He plays piano and vibes with an effortless, affirmative touch."
BRET SAUNDERS, "Denver Post"

Vaché and Cocuzzi make for an exciting front line.
— ALISON KERR, "Scotland on Sunday"

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Thank you for the wonderful performance in Tempe, AZ... It was an extraordinary evening. The people attending were unanimous in thinking it was the best such event they had ever attended... I hope you know how much it meant to me.
— Supreme Court Justice SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, Tempe, AZ

John Cocuzzi is one of the most dynamic musicians I've ever had the pleasure to see and hear in person.

Now this is what real music is and should always be!

John Cocuzzi's vibraphone styling was excellent, and he had a great solo on "Honeysuckle Rose", a real barn-burner.
JITTERBUZZ.COM, Wash., DC swing dancer comment

He had [the crowd] singing choruses of “Hey Baba Rebop” at the top of their lungs. He returned to his vibes, like a snake charmer, to change the pace of the set. At that point, I didn’t know whether he was a musician or a magician.

John’s sound reminds me that God is in everything and that He particularly likes to manifest in music. Certain artists—and John is one of them—can capture the essence of a piece of music and then, through their genius, transform the listener’s experience to a higher level. From the first time I listened to John, I have felt that his talent is a gift of the Higher Realms and that his sound has a quality that can enhance our emotional and spiritual state of being. I take every opportunity I can to hear John perform, because he invariably helps my spirit soar.
— EDEMIR ROSSI, Director of Ague Institute in Curitiba, Brazil

IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT, send it to John



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Sandra Day O'Connor

to John from:
Sandra Day O'Connor


Partial list of past

Partial list of


to John from:
Steve Jordan
Louis Bellson
Danny Barker

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John Cocuzzi slideshow

© 2008 Nancy Giffin, incl. Nancy Giffin photos
Live Music Performance and Event Production — Vibraphone/Piano/Drums/Vocals