”The notes played, sometimes flow like a summer rain over the keys. Now there is a greater weight and power in John’s attack; Venkiah challenges the piano. The result is a bigger expression, it becomes more.”
– Bengt Eriksson, Lira Music magazine about the new album Elevation 2017
”John Venkiah is one of the most talented jazz musicians I have come across during my time at the Malmö Academy of Music”
– Jan Lundgren, renown swedish jazz pianist, 2012
John Venkiah was born in 1986 in London. He started to play the keyboard at 5 years of age, and moved to Sweden in 1998. Playing mostly by ear, John listened to records his mother played for him, and learnt a lot by just hearing and playing.
As he grew into his teens, both singing and playing became a bigger part of his life. John began writing his own music at the age of 14, experimenting with different influences, including soul, Motown and jazz. He began studying music at high school, where he met fellow musicians and started his first bands. He was an original member of the reggae band “Skank the Bones“, in which he was lead vocalist and keyboardist.
John studied jazz for two years at a pre-university college (Lunnevads Folkhögskola) where he gaining more passion, knowledge and experience within jazz. In 2008, he began studies for his Bachelor’s degree in jazz piano at the Malmö Academy of Music, which he completed in 2012. During this period, John took lessons for the great swedish pianist Jan Lundgren, who, apart from teaching him lots of fundamental things within jazz piano, helped him to move forward within jazz in many aspects. These including John Venkiah Trio’s appearances at the 2012 and 2014 Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, the recording of their debut album released in March 2014 through record label Volenza, not to mention continuous inspiration and coaching.
John Venkiah’s influences include Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Corea, Chet Baker, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and more.
“A firm grip around tradition, fresh, personal ideas, a brilliant technique, delicate touch, developed sense for harmonies and a phrasing with true authority – in John Venkiah we have a richly and thoroughly equipped young jazz pianist”
– Sven Bjerstedt, 5/5, Ystad Allehanda, 3rd August 2014
At the moment, John Venkiah Trio is John’s main constellation. Read more about the trio here