John Cocuzzi Quintet

b. 26 October 1964, Andrews Air Force Base, nr. Washington, DC, USA. Cocuzzi took a very early interest in playing drums and immediately after graduation from high school in 1982 he attended Montgomery…
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Artist Biography

b. 26 October 1964, Andrews Air Force Base, nr. Washington, DC, USA. Cocuzzi took a very early interest in playing drums and immediately after graduation from high school in 1982 he attended Montgomery Junior College in Rockville, Maryland, as an applied percussion major. While in college, he also studied arranging with Bill Potts, who wrote for Buddy Rich and others. By the late 80s, Cocuzzi was an established performer in and around the nation’s capital and from 1987 held a continuous engagement at the 219 Restaurant in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Among many prestigious venues he has played in the Washington area are the Kennedy Center, the Corcoran art gallery, the Smithsonian, the National Press Club and Blues Alley, as well as at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in Baltimore, Maryland. During these years, in addition to playing drums, Cocuzzi also played piano and vibraphone, gradually advancing his skills on the latter instrument until it became the dominant force in his impressive arsenal.

From the early 90s, Cocuzzi appeared at numerous festivals nationwide, including those in Atlanta, San Diego, Sarasota, Colorado Springs, North Carolina, West Texas and New Jersey. He has also performed at festivals in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 1992, he was featured on national public radio, appearing with Jim Cullum on ‘Riverwalk - Live At The Landing’. Early in the new century, Cocuzzi was appearing on two regular radio shows, the Jazz Central show and one on the BET jazz network. Throughout his career, Cocuzzi has mainly led his own small groups but from 1997 he also played piano with the swing, blues and jump band, Big Joe And The Dynaflows, led by Big Joe Maher. Cocuzzi has also accompanied numerous leading jazz musicians, among whom are Howard Alden, Joe Ascione, Louie Bellson, Bobby Gordon, Chuck Hedges, Milt Hinton, Dick Hyman, Russell Malone, Ken Peplowski, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Ed Polcer, Daryl Sherman, Warren and Allan Vaché, Johnny Varro, Bob Wilber and Snooky Young. A dynamic and swinging drummer, Cocuzzi is a fluently inventive improviser on piano. His vibraphone playing ably blends the urgent thrust he displays in his drumming with the fluid grace of his piano playing.