About John Mccahey
Get to know John Mccahey
It all began with a John Coltrane CD. From an early age, John McCahey was centered on music. As an infant In North Carolina, music lulled him to sleep. By age 5 in rural Maryland, he regularly rummaged through his older brother’s music catalog. The patterns, rhythms and rigor of music appealed to John’s strong math abilities. Then something happened when he discovered jazz artist John Coltrane.
It was Coltrane and other jazz artists that helped John choose trombone as an instrument. Now John expanded his music participation to private lessons, school bands, marching bands, all county and state bands, summer camps and even local wind orchestras. While early studies and performance focused on classical music, including a year studying with Natalie Mannix at Towson University, John quickly transitioned as a sophomore to study of jazz with Jim McFalls and Dave Ballou at Towson.
The Towson jazz curriculum offered John broad composing and performance experience. He performed in many genres, including Salsa, Ska, Reggae, Funk, Jazz, Big Band and Pop music with different groups. John managed his own musical group at Towson that featured his original compositions and won a scholarship in Towson’s talent award competition.
Post-undergraduate, John immediately expanded his performance experience. Of course, there were wedding gigs. But also as a regular trombonist with regional bands 9 Mile Roots, Screaming Art Large Ensemble and Joe Keyes and Late Bloomer Band. A three-month gig on a cruise ship both expanded his musical repertoire and offered many lessons about being a working musician you can’t learn in school.
John was then invited to join the first class of the graduate school of music at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. There John studied for two years with renowned jazz trombone artist Steve Davis and accomplished musician Javon Jackson. At Hartt John honed his musical style through the study of jazz legends including Jackie McLean, Charlie Parker and JJ Johnson. With Steve’s encouragement, John expanded his musical perspective through study of piano and eventually trumpet and bass. This broader instrument study enabled composition with more direction and clearer voice. It also aided John’s teaching efforts by helping verbalize vague musical concepts and returning his focus to the basics.
After graduation from Hartt in 2019, John returned home to the metropolitan DC area and is currently performing as much as is safely possible within the restrictions of the pandemic crisis, including Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band and with the Bachelor Boys wedding band.