Born in the Boston area, guitarist John Basile graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, where, after receiving a jazz fellowship from the National Endowment For The Arts, he relocated to New York City in 1979. Early free-lance work included tours with Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, and Michel Legrand, as New York offered the experiences essential to any jazz artist - the opportunity to develop a personal "voice."
In 1984 John recorded his first album as a leader, Very Early (Seabreeze 2024), with Eddie Gomez and a string ensemble. He followed this initial effort with two releases on the ProJazz label, Quiet Passage (CDJ 627), and Sunnyside Up (CDJ 641), featuring George Mraz, Tom Harrell, and Joey Baron.
During this time John continued work as an accompanist, performing and recording with singers Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Morgana King, and Sylvia Syms.
In 1987, on a recommendation from Jim Hall, John toured Europe in a small group featuring "Red" Mitchell, Clark Terry, and "Sweets" Edison. After returning to New York, John began to incorporate the guitar synthesizer and MIDI technology into his work.
Performing in a duo context has always been a favorite setting of John's, and with the clarinetist/whistler Brad Terry, John won the 1988 Hennessey Jazz Search competition. This honor resulted in a release on the Musical Heritage label (S127144A) and performances in concerts and clubs nationwide.
John traveled to Italy in the fall of 1989 and began to share his experience, knowledge, and ideas in what became a series of jazz guitar seminars. A release on the Italian label Philology (103-2) followed.
1995 saw the release of an instructional video, Jazz Guitar Improvisation (Homespun Tapes GT101) with fellow guitarist John Abercrombie. Also Frankly Speaking: A Jazz Portrait of Sinatra, was released on the Japanese label King,
In 1997, Chesky Records released The Desmond Project (JD1 56), featuring the John Basile Quartet. Led by John, the group-alto saxophonist Alien Mezquida, bassist David Finck, and drummer Payton Crossley--reprises classic Paul Desmond compositions as well as standards that came to be known as the saxman's own. While John utilizes the same instrumentation that made songs such as "My Funny Valentine" and "Take Five" famous, his arrangements are full of subtle tensions and quiet surprises that are entirely his own.