• Today I successfully defended my dissertation, Beyond the Sound Barrier: Improvisation, Repertoire and Narrativity in the Wayne Shorter Quartet, 2000-2015! My committee, composed of jazz scholars Michael Heller and Aaron Johnson, composer/theorist Mathew Rosenblum and saxophonist/ethnomusicologist Melvin Butler had a great discourse on my work and its potential for a book moving forward. Below is the abstract for the work:

    Wayne Shorter is a Grammy award winning jazz saxophonist, NEA jazz master and Guggenheim Music Composition Fellow. While he is revered by historians for his recorded oeuvre during the 1960s, he is simultaneously regarded as being at the cutting edge of the contemporary jazz scene due to the reception of his current quartet, formed in the year 2000. The band, composed of Shorter (saxophone), Danilo Pérez (piano), John Patitucci (bass), and Brian Blade (drums), has evaded scholarly treatment because they elude normative customs associated with the performance and presentation of jazz compositions made famous by Shorter earlier in his recording career. This research takes significant steps to advance the field of jazz studies not only by focusing on a previously under-researched segment of Shorter’s career, but by recasting the site for study as the band itself. The band serves as a site for understanding the ruptures and continuities at play in contemporary jazz when expectations, predicated upon the relationship between band and the jazz community, are challenged or even undermined. In order to interpret the Wayne Shorter Quartet, this dissertation presents a multi-tiered methodology. Four frames of reference are presented: The Band, The Repertoire, The Audience and The Concert. This approach necessitates a constant negotiation amongst cultural and historical imaginaries which implicates memory and present experiences mediated via understandings of a canon. Analysis of performance practice, through the historical lineage of recordings as well as live concert recordings, reveals the flexibility and malleability of a musical concept devised by Shorter – “zero gravity.” By engaging with performance practice, socio-cultural and historical context, this project is in dialogue with multiple disciplines, including performance studies, sound studies and cultural studies. Ultimately, the Wayne Shorter Quartet is a site of nested knowledge that clarifies and recasts historical understandings of Shorter as the band forges a new kind of performance practice that gestures to contemporary and future understandings of jazz.

  • Check out the press release that just came out for my new recording Presence! So proud that this was recorded live in concert. John Petrucelli Presence Press Release


  • Check out this gorgeous theater and our remarkable stage set up! We’re rehearsing each day and performing gigs every night leading up to the recording sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!


  • Today marks the first rehearsal of my new suite Presence! While I had rehearsed with the jazz and classical musicians separately, today Paul Thompson, Gusten Rudolph, Melissa Hernandez, Ashley Freeburn, Olga Taimonov and Katya Janpolodyan all congregated in the gorgeous loft space above the New Hazlett Theater main stage to rehearse together. Check out a few pictures from Esther Wayne who documented the occasion!3Z1A36673Z1A3591

  • We are conducting a poll amongst our fans to see which logo will become representative of our band Mischievous Minx! Check out the options and vote here:





  • This morning I found the original manuscript book that I began for Presence almost 2 years ago. I wrote the following prompt to inspire my musical direction:

    “Where are we going, what are we doing? The easiest of questions, with a peculiar answer; that forces conspire to constrain and restrain. To bend us, at times unyielding to desires incomprehensible to mere mortals. That motion, perpetual will never allow stagnation, things will materialize and dissipate into and out of our tiny lens through which we perceive.”

  • Tonight I will be performing for the Art Gallery Crawl in downtown Pittsburgh- tonight for the first time I will be performing entirely solo saxophone! Obviously performing without accompaniment on a single note instrument like the saxophone poses unique challenges: maintaining the interest of the audience, keeping the formal elements of the composition intact while engaging both melodically, harmonically and rhythmically. I further decided to challenge myself by spontaneously improvising the concert! Check out an excerpt here:

  • As many of you know, I lived in New Orleans for a little over a year, and studied at Loyola University of New Orleans. While I was at Loyola I got to know an emerging band of then students calling themselves Naughty Professor. I remember them playing house parties and developing their sound and repertoire- we’ve come so far since then! They’re touring the country and it’s always a pleasure that they invite me to join them whenever they come to Pittsburgh. Check out a little clip of one of my solos that night here:

  • Check out the Promo Video for Mischievous Minx! Vocalist Anastasia Hagermann and I have completed the collection of songs that will form our new EP. We’re currently working on the mix/master and collaborating with electronic artist Chalk Dinosaur to add and sculpt our sound! Check out our Indiegogo page and consider getting involved!

  • I’m playing a really fun duo session at Studio AM tonight with pianist/synth player Sean Baker. If you don’t know Studio AM it’s a venue you should really check out! It’s a hybrid venue/restaurant/art gallery /hang out space run by artist extraordinaire Baron Batch! He’s an amazing visual artist and I’m so happy I get to be surrounded by his artwork and my friends for this performance. Check out Baron’s website:

  • Check out an excerpt from Lauren DiMichiei’s new album with me and Joe Bad on trumpet!

  • Over the past 6 months I’ve been collaborating with an incredible vocalist and lyricist named Anastasia Hagermann. Together we’ve been exploring the boundaries of jazz, pop and r&b in an attempt to craft a new, exciting blend of original music and lyrics. Called Mischievous Minx, we have been honing a new EP and planning an fundraising campaign to help get this project off the ground. Check out a video of our first rehearsal here.

  • My friend Molly Cavanaugh is a very talented vocalist and composer who is putting together a Pittsburgh based band called Merrow. I recently got to join her for a live recording session and played on two of her compositions, check out the links to the videos below!

  • I’m thrilled to announce that I will be apart of the 2017/2018 season of Hazlett Theater’s CSA program. I will be composing and performing a new suite of compositions entitled Presence. This project will be synthesizing my jazz, classical, and electronic music influences into a meditation on place, space, and the human condition. The suite comprises nine selections; Black Moon, Field of Heaven, Intentions, Veil of Shadows, Mercury Crossing, Garden of the Angels, Summon (the spirit), Amor Fati and Bridge, Not an End. They follow a narrative arc that represents a series of transformations I have undergone both artistically and spiritually during my time in Pittsburgh.

    Read more here

  • Last night was the CD release party for singer/songwriter Gene Stovall’s new album Mind Your Daydreams. It was a beautiful night, it was such a pleasure to record and perform with Gene. You can check out my playing on soprano sax and bass clarinet on the album.

  • My friend and fellow saxophonist Nate Hook has recently began a podcast called Jazz Bros and I was invited to be interviewed for his first episode! We had a free ranging conversation- from martial arts to jazz improvisation… check it out here.

  • Check out George Heid III’s new album “Little Blue Planet In Need of Great Care”. He’s currently raising some money on indiegogo to finish the project. I played on several tracks and it’s a really exciting blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk, r&b and electronica!

  • My friend Kyle Simpson is an amazing composer and his album “Something In Between” is now available! Check out the promo here and you’ll see that I’m featured on several tracks

  • I headed to London this month to present at the University of Surrey! They had a conference dedicated to the 90th birth years of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I presented and performed, as well as stopping through the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. I happened to run into my Joe Lovano and Chucho Valdes which turned into an epic late night hang!

  • My first recording on EWI is on my longtime friend and collaborator Will Macirowski’s electric quartet recording featuring Victor Lewis! Check out a little taste here.

  • Check out this solo I took with the Jim Weltman and the Duquesne University Big Band!

  • I’m opening up for Adam Meckler, an amazing trumpet player from Pittsburgh and currently based in Minneapolis. In his preview Mike Shanley calls me “one of the city’s most promising tenor players.”

  • My good friend and artistic collaborator Nolan Sanders has opened a new gallery in Pittsburgh called Already Famous! I’m performing a series of concerts, responding to the art work freely with percussionist Ryan Socrates. Read more about it here.

  • Check out this cool review from C. Michael Bailey in All About Jazz! “At 26 years old, Petrucelli proves to be an old soul more influenced by Michael Brecker, Chris Potter and Donny McCaslin than the older masters (though he is well studied in them). John Petrucelli is a young talent to watch.”

  • Check out this review from Mike Shanley about my album The Way: “Petrucelli has a lot to offer: inventive originals and a couple standards, all with rhythmic adventure. As a result of this approach, his solos can breathe fire and rise above the gentle surroundings.”

  • Great concert review of a recent concert I played with Ben Opie, Chris Parker and David Throckmorton!

  • Back from tour, onto the stage of the fabled Village Vanguard! This was my first ever performance on that hallowed ground, and I could feel the history and the energy of the moment while playing with Geri Allen, Kenny David and Victor Lewis!

  • This month I’m taking my trio with Gusten Rudolph and Peter Park to Hong Kong and China to promote my new album The Way!

  • Thanks to O’s Place!

    O’s Notes: “Saxophonist John Petrucelli leads a quintet with pianist Victor Gould, Peter Park on guitar, bassist Alexander Claffy and Gusten Rudolph on drums. Victor Lewis makes a guest appearance playing drums on three selections. This is a talented crew that blazed through the changes without missing a beat. There are eleven selections including eight composed by Petrucelli on two CDs. We preferred the more melodic second disc with “Moment Of Grace”, Monk’s “Gallop’s Gallop” and their cover of “Early Autumn”. That’s The Way.”
    O’s Place Jazz Newsletter

  • New Review of The Way in Jazz Weekly!
    “[John Petrucelli’s] got a muscular sound on the horn, and has enthusiastically taken up the serpentine style of soloing patented by Marsh. On this double cd, he teams up with Peter Park/g,Victor Gould/p, Alex Claffy/b, Gusten Rudolph/d and for a few tracks drumming legend Victor Lewis shows up for some extra octane. Petrucelli shows his muscle on the charging read of “I Hear A Rhapsody” and glows like a sunset on the red skied “Early Autumn” with Lewis. Lewis adds some exciting sounds on “The Flip” as well, while the regular rhythm team shuffles along with Park as the sparks fly on “Prism.” The dramatic “Moment of Grace” is a highlight, with Gould dancing with Claffy underneath the hard hitting tenor, while things get fun for Park and Petrucelli on “Gallop’s Gallop.” This whole team sounds confident, macho and enthused. They get you excited with their excitement!

  • John will be the 2015 Artist in Residency at the University of Virginia! From April 8th through the 12th he will be guest teaching a Jazz Improvisation class, performing with the John D’earth Quartet at Millers and rehearsing his original compositions with the University big band, culminating in a performance April 10 and a public masterclass with the Charlottesville Jazz Society on April 11.

  • WBGO, one of the largest jazz radio stations in the United States is featuring “The Way”, visit Tim Wilkins’ review here:

  • John will be giving a presentation at the 2015 Jazz Educator’s Network in San Diego California, entitled Motivic and Harmonic Analysis of Warne Marsh: The Unissued Copenhagen Studio Recordings.

  • John will be giving a presentation at the 2015 North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Bellingham Washington, entitled Creating Flowing Lines in Contemporary Jazz Improvisation.

  • John will be giving a presentation at the 2015 International Association for the Study of Popular Music in Lousiville Kentucky entitled Narration within a Broken Middle: Addressing the Inclusion, Meaning and Function of Popular Music in Contemporary Jazz Repertoire.

  • John will be giving a presentation at the 2015 Composing American Opera Conference at Towson University entitled Improvisation and Incantation: Riffing on Anthony Davis’ X. Click here for more info

  • Liner Notes for The Way by Bill Milkowski: Click here for PDF