Pianist John Hicks (1941-2006) was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. After attending Lincoln University, Berklee College of Music, and Julliard, he toured with several blues and jazz artists including Little Milton, Albert King, and Pharaoh Sanders. He moved to New York in 1963 and played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers for two years and then the Betty Carter Trio with which he toured internationally.
Hicks played and recorded with Sonny Rollins, Carmen McRae, Freddie Hubbard, Frank Foster, Roy Haynes, Sonny Stitt, Jon Hendricks and James Moody. He additionally recorded several albums for both the Theresa (Evidence) and Disk Union with such cutting edge saxophone masters as David Murray, Ricky Ford & Arthur Blythe. He collaborated with fellow pianist Kenny Barron on an album on Candid. In the nineties, Hicks had further expanded his visibility and acclaim. His recorded works include reunion meetings with Betty Carter, a solo concert at Maybeck Recital Hall in Berkeley, California, and a variety of settings that have included artists Joshua Redman, Al Grey, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Charles Tolliver, Oliver Lake, Roy Hargrove, Gary Bartz, and Bobby Watson among others. He appeared on over sixty albums.
Teaming up with a diverse array of musicians was a Hicks trademark. It infused his playing with a unique characteristic: a relaxed confidence so total that at times it belied the passion he brought to a song. In all these realms, he had brought together outstanding musicians, all whom shared with him excellence in the creation and delivery of the universal language.