Now residing in Los Angeles, John Gentry Tennyson has embraced a new musical chapter of his life. In the past year, he has been the 2009 recipient of the NEA Grant, Challenge America, served as Musical Director and Conductor for the new Broadway-bound musical, The First Wives Club under the direction of Francesca Zambello, co-written music for two new musicals and was offered the position of Musical Director for Cirque du Soleil’s most challenging touring show, Corteo. Tennyson is now fully committed to new opportunities composing music for TV and Film in Los Angeles.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Tennyson established himself in New York and began developing his own sound. He began composing original music that culminated in his first piano trio recording, John Tennyson's, Real World Trio, featuring guest artists, Randy Brecker and Dewey Redman. Following this release, Tennyson was signed as a solo artist with Angel/EMI Records by Bruce Lundvall and recorded his cross-over release of neo-classical originals, Europa. Subsequent albums include the Euro-release, Tennyson & Keiser-PopJazz, with bassist/partner, Peter Keiser, resulting in four tours and numerous concerts in the European jazz festival circuit. As well, two of Tennyson & Keiser’s originals were covered by the legendary drummer, Billy Cobham and his band. Currently, a Latin-jazz piano trio CD of several new Tennyson originals and re-worked standards entitled, Mi Rojita, is in progress.
During Tennyson’s New York tenure as local jazz mainstay, Les Paul learned of Tennyson and he became a featured performer with Les at the Iridium Jazz Club for seven years. The list of artists after that gig grew to include many jazz legends such as; Les Paul, Monty Alexander, Dewey Redman, Frank Foster, J.J. Johnson, Randy Brecker, Ada Rovatti, Jeff Kashiwa, Tom Harrell, Stanton Davis, Buddy Childers, Al Di Meola, Hiram Bullock, Rodney Jones, Chuck Loeb, Oz Noy, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Bucky Pizarelli, Howard Alden, Mark Whitfield, Russell Malone, Marc Shulman, Allen Hinds, Gil Parris, Lee Roy Parnell, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Donahue, Mel Lewis, Grady Tate, Bernard Purdie, Joe Morello, Buddy Williams, Jeff Hirshfield, Marcello Pelliteri, Richie Morales, Terry Silverlight, Tony Lewis, Willard Dyson, Mike Shapiro, Satoshi Takeishi, Gerry Brown, Joel Rosenblatt, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ed Soph, Gumbi Ortiz, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Mayra Casales, Munyungo Jackson, Eddie Gomez, John Patitucci, Ron McClure, Marc Johnson, Todd Coolman, Chip Jackson, Paul Nowinski, Jay Leonhart, Kermit Driscoll, Lonnie Plaxico, Chuck Rainey, Will Lee, Zev Katz, Gary Haase, Alex Al, Sekou Bunch, Jervonny "J.V." Collier, Oscar Cartaya, Gail Ann Dorsey, Mark O’Connor, Todd Reynolds and Mark Feldman.
Other credits include, Musical Director (& various capacities) for Grammy Award-winning vocalists; Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, Dianne Reeves, Sarah Brightman, Liza Minelli, Patti Austin, Jennifer Holliday, The Pointer Sisters, BJ Crosby, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Queen Esther, Dakota Staton, Odetta, Antonia Bennett, Kat Edmonson, Suzanna Choffel, Martika, Sophie B. Hawkins, Mary Fahl, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Maurice White, Siedah Garrett, Freddie Jackson, Niki Crawford, Rebekah Del Rio, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rupert Holmes, Harold Wheeler, Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Lou Rawls, Ben Vereen, Holland, Dozier & Holland, Lieber & Stoller, Tom Wopat, Carol Lawrence, Leslie Gore, Ray Price, Ronnie Milsap, Del Shannon, The Shirelles, Obba Babbatunde, Sam Harris, Mario Cantone, Bill Irwin, Karen Ziemba, Barbara Walsh, Brian Lane Green, Natalie Toro, Sean McDermott and David Burnham to name a few.
In the past few years, Tennyson has branched out to other endeavors on Broadway in musical theater. Tennyson has worked extensively as Musical Director and Associate Conductor for Broadway Directors; Francesca Zambello in The First Wives Club, George C. Wolfe in Harlem Song at the Apollo Theatre, Andre De Shields in Harlem Nocturne, George Faison in the Monte-Carlo Starshow, Otis Sallid in Jazzical, for the Los Angeles African American opera company, Opera Noir and for the Radio City Rockettes in the annual Christmas Show.