John Gray

John Gray is a New York City-based upright/electric bassist, composer, and teacher. He plays original jazz/blues/soul music with his own group, The Jazz Thieves.

John also teaches music ensembles for homeschooled children, as well as teaching private guitar, bass (upright and electric), piano, and ukelele lessons.

John plays upright and electric bass in several jazz, rock and folk bands in New York City, as a freelancer and also as a member of many groups.  They include Single Girl, Married Girl, Lorens Chuno, the Marvin Dolly Trio, and The Brooklyn Hits to name a few.

John is the leader and director of two professional music ensembles. He is also the primary composer/songwriter for The Jazz Thieves.


The Jazz Thieves

The Jazz Thieves, through personal and evocative lyrics, passionate and soulful improvisation, and thoughtful, wide-ranging originals revitalize jazz by reconnecting it to its roots. Inspired by their heroes Duke Ellington, Tom Waits, Bill Withers and Ray Charles, they "steal" the feel, fire and fervor of 70's soul, 50's R&B, church gospel, and modern hip-hop, uniting it with jazz improvisation and imagination.  Their music is a modern exploration of the many stories, voices and styles that comprise and influence jazz.

The Jazz Thieves sound has been forged in the and grit and hustle of New York City's jazz and independent music scene; they have absorbed their aesthetic and spirit from venues which feature modern pop, eclectic rock and straight ahead jazz. They have played their own original songs and jazz/blues standards at rock n’roll haunts like Rockwood Music Hall, and more quiet, intimate jazz venues like Cafe Vivaldi. They can regularly be seen in the lineup on the eclectic Saturday night showcases at The Way Station in Brooklyn.  They are led by the upright bassist/composer/lyricist John Gray, and feature Matt Robbins on vocals and keyboard, Ayumi Ishito on saxophone, and Tim Ford on drums. 

In 2016, they released their first full length album, "Brooklyn Elegy". Recorded and mixed at Room 17 Studios in Bushwick by engineers Joe Rogers and the Grammy Award-winner Ted Young, Brooklyn Elegy was met with critical acclaim from and Jazziz magazine, in addition to radio interviews and international radio airplay. 

“Brooklyn Elegy” evokes a coming of age; wading through the changing neighborhoods in a gentrifying Brooklyn, navigating infrequent employment, meeting colorful characters, and surviving ups and downs. The songs are inspired by Gray's experiences as an emerging artist in New York; cataloging love, heartbreak, and growth.  

Outside of playing together, the individual members of the Jazz Thieves have played and collaborated with jazz masters such as James Moody, John McNeil, Vincent Herring, David Williams, Bobby Shew, Mike LeDonne and John Stetch to name a few. They are all active performers in the NYC Jazz and Rock/Pop/Folk scenes, and can be seen playing together or separately any night of the week.

Members of the band are also passionate music educators. They are available to teach masterclasses, private lessons, and educational outreach programs.


The Brooklyn Hits

The Brooklyn Hits formed in 2016 when John Gray, Alex Feldman, Jenn Mundia and Drew Cooper met to explore how to make the best wedding/party band.  They all had been frustrated by our experiences in other groups, and they decided that they could create a better group together; one that would better allow them to bring their passion for world class music entertainment to weddings and events.


So, why would you want to hire them? 



They have a large repertoire, and they can recreate your favorite hits in just the way you fell in love with them.  Their band is comprised of New York's best and brightest musicians, who are well versed in playing today's top 40, as well as yesterday's top 40.  As well as the top songs from the 1940's.

They can swing like Louie and Ella, groove like Earth, Wind and Fire, rock like AC/DC and shake it all off afterward like Taylor Swift.


Context is everything, and they know what songs keep a party going and which might fall flat.  How many bands are versatile enough to play a sophisticated jazz cocktail hour, perform traditional music for a ceremony, and then pack the dance floor? They come prepared for every situation, whether in the background or foreground. 

They take great pride in getting the setlist right for your event.  Feel free to tell them exactly what you are looking for (a few specific requests, some songs to avoid, or featuring an artist) and they will hit it out of the park!


They are world class musicians. Individually, the band members have played with top local, national and international rock, soul, funk, and jazz artists.  They have played on the biggest stages and with the brightest stars and they look forward to bringing that standard of excellence to your event.

All of the band members are veteran members of NY wedding and event bands, and know what audiences appreciate. 


They are available now for events of all kinds. Find out how to book us on their website (

They are available for: wedding ceremonies, private parties, corporate events, cocktail hours, cocktail parties, receptions, club bookings, bar nights, jazz clubs, and any other event that would benefit from a great band.

If you want musicians or instruments that aren't usually featured in the band (such as violin or trumpet, or even a whole string quartet) they know these musicians as well.  They can arrange for them to join the party!


Background Photo credit: John Rogers © 2016