John Payne

Saxophone - Flute - Clarinet - Improvisation

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John has over three decades of teaching experience and is a graduate of Harvard University, B.A. cum laude in philosophy.


With more than 40,000 lessons under his belt, he especially enjoys teaching complete beginners how to play and musicians of any level (or instrument!) how to improvise.

You can read about John's philosophy of music teaching by reading his short article "Reversing the Dwindling Spiral of Musical Enjoyment" or reading the article about him in Harvard Magazine.

John has played with Bonnie Raitt (on her Give It Up album and on tour) and with Van Morrison (live and on his legendary Astral Weeks album --- Astral Weeks was named third greatest album of all-time by the London Times in the 1990's, 19th greatest by Rolling Stone in 2003, and sixth greatest singer-songwriter album of all time by Amazon.com in 2009). Click here to hear John discuss playing on “Astral Weeks” with Christopher Lydon on  NPR’s “Open Source”.  (John is featured from 15:41–31:00 and 41:40–49:16.)

John also performed and/or recorded with Phoebe Snow, David Bromberg, Michael Franks, Leon Redbone, Maria Muldaur, Robert Ellis Orrall, and Noel Stookey (Noel is Paul of Peter, Paul, and Mary).  He has appeared many times on national television, including an appearance with Bonnie Raitt on Saturday Night Live and with Phoebe Snow on Johnny Carson, Don Kirschner's Rock Concert, and Midnight Special.

John has released three albums under his own name on major labels, and has played nationally and locally for over thirty years. He was voted best Boston-area jazz band by Boston Magazine and nominated best clarinetist in the Playboy jazz poll.

Call 617-277-3438 (or e-mail info@jpmc.us) now to schedule a lesson with John!  No registration fees. 

Listen to ‘Snow’ off John's 'Bedtime Stories' album on Arista Freedom Records,' with John on tenor sax, Louis Levin on keyboards, Scott Lee on bass, and Gerald Murphy on drums.

Listen to John play flute with Van Morrison on his Astral Weeks album. Track is the title track ('Astral Weeks'). Flute sneaks in and builds gradually starting at 0:55.

Listen to John play clarinet with Bonnie Raitt on her Give It Up album on Warner Brothers Records. Track is 'You Got to Know How'.

Listen to John Payne play soprano saxophone with Van Morrison in his legendary ‘Astral Weeks’ album on Warner Brothers Records. Van is on vocal and guitar, Richard Davis is on Bass.

Listen to John on flute on his Razors Edge album on Arista Freedom records. Track is 'New Spaces'.

Listen to John play clarinet with Martha Velez on her American Heartbeat album on Sire Records. Track is 'Once in a While', clarinet solo starts at 1:31.

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