Dr. John Petrucelli is a New Jersey native who began playing jazz in Trenton, mentored by jazz great Richie Cole. Petrucelli attended University of Virginia and continued his musical education under the tutelage of trumpeter John D’Earth. From there he was encouraged by esteemed composer and jazz visionary Terence Blanchard to move to New Orleans. The Big Easy proved to be a transformational time for John. He explored composition and deepened his connection to the jazz tradition and expanded his artistic palette.
In the fall of 2010, Petrucelli moved back to the New York area to begin his studies at Rutgers University with saxophonist Ralph Bowen. Earning two Master’s degrees in Jazz History and Research (M.A.) and Jazz Performance (M.M.), he worked closely with world class musicians and researchers including Stanley Cowell, Charles Tolliver Conrad Herwig, Lewis Porter and Henry Martin. He also joined the NYYS Jazz Orchestra, giving him the opportunity to perform with Alex Sipiagin, Sam Sadigursky and Paquito D’Rivera at venues including Symphony Space and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
In 2018, Petrucelli earned his PhD in Music with a certificate in Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. He worked with the inimitable pianist and composer Professor Geri Allen as well as with contemporary composer Amy Williams and jazz scholars Michael Heller and Aaron Johnson. As a scholar, Dr. Petrucelli’s research explores the notion of nested knowledge, applying the concept to analyzing the Wayne Shorter Quartet in his dissertation Beyond the Sound Barrier; Improvisation, Repertoire and Narrativity in the Wayne Shorter Quartet 2000-2015. He has presented on topics ranging from Anthony Davis’ opera X to voice and vocality in the timbre of saxophonist Warne Marsh as well as explorations of the function and meaning of popular music in contemporary jazz repertoire.
Dr. Petrucelli has taught coursework including Jazz History, Jazz Theory, Jazz Pedagogy, Improvisation, Composition and Arranging, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Chamber Ensemble, Music History, Fundamentals of Piano and Saxophone Lessons at Rutgers University, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Most recently, he served as Director of Jazz Studies at Northeastern State University.
Jazz Weekly described Petrucelli’s compositions as a “potent blend of yin and yang that captivates the listener.” His debut album The Way featured esteemed drummer Victor Lewis alongside rising stars of the contemporary jazz scene. Following the release, the band embarked on an international tour which included stops in Hong Kong and mainland China. He also undertook a collaborative project with vocalist/lyricist Anastasia Hagermann, entitled Mischievous Minx, which introduced a substantial EP in December 2017. His latest endeavor was his 10-movement work Presence, a live-in-concert recording premiered at the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh. Presented with support through a grant underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts, and completed with a national tour in the fall of 2018, Petrucelli’s jazz quintet was augmented by the Kassia String Quartet and also featured special guest artist Melvin Butler of Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band. “John Petrucelli’s Presence moves him closer to the jazz pantheon,” as reviewed by AllAboutJazz. For more information please visit www.johnpetrucellisax.com.