by John Yao

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $11.99 USD




Owing to his versatility as a trombonist, composer, and arranger, John Yao has enjoyed a steady rise on the New York City jazz scene since arriving from his native Chicago over 10 years ago. The New York Times calls Yao “resourceful young trombonist whose recent debut, ‘In the Now’, shows him to be a smart composer-bandleader,” Bird is the Worm wrote In the Now is “one of those albums where there’s a lot going on, plenty of complexities, yet remains inherently listenable” and All about Jazz proclaimed “a flavorful feast for the senses. Yao’s music is teeming with danger and uncertainty. In the Now is a solid step that marks him as one to watch.”

The next step for Yao begins with the launch of his newest project, John Yao & His 17- piece Instrument Flip-Flop, Yao’s second album as a leader and first as a conductor and composer of a large ensemble. John’s two-year stint as part of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop fostered new musical explorations and further cultivated his unique compositional approach leading to these 10 works. The 17-piece ensemble is comprised of New York City’s finest jazz musicians including members of Grammy- award winning ensembles such as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, both of which Yao has been a regular substitute for many years and have had a profound influence on his compositional style.

The album features ten works for big band, composed by Yao, each work pushing the limits of the contemporary big band genre. “Hellgate” and “Out of Socket” swing hard, showing off the bands muscle and raw power, offset by “Soundscape #1” and “Soundscape #2” which remove the rhythm section from its usual role of keeping time, instead focusing them along with the rest of the ensemble on sound, texture and color. “Flip- flop” and “Ode to the Last Twinkie” use the serial and twelve-tone techniques developed by Arnold Schoenberg combined with up-tempo swing and reggae grooves producing a distinctive sound. The element of controlled chaos and collective improvisation in “Slow Children at Play” and “New Guy” allow the opportunity for the piece sound different each time it’s played.


“[Flip-Flop] showcased Yao’s unpredictable compositions and inventive arrangements, which spring from tradition while pointing towards future portals.”
- Jeff Potter, Downbeat

“Yao not only puts a fresh coat of paint to big band sounds, but redoes the foundation and expands a few rooms. Exciting through and through.”
- George Harris, Jazz Weekly

"At times angular and broken, other times linear and swinging, he offers a broad view of the possibilities of jazz composition."
- Jim McNeely, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra


released June 9, 2015

See Tao Recordings 001

John Yao Trombone, Compositions,

John O’Gallagher
Alejandro Aviles
Rich Perry
Jon Irabagon
Frank Basile 

John Walsh
Jason Wiseman
David Smith
Andy Gravish
Luis Bonilla
Matt McDonald
Kajiwara Tokunori
Jennifer Wharton
Rhythm Section
Jesse Stacken
Robert Sabin
Vince Cherico



all rights reserved


John Yao New York, New York

New York City based trombonist, composer, arranger and bandleader. Leader of two working bands, John Yao Quintet and John Yao & His 17-piece Instrument. Downbeat writes, "John Yao makes it clear he’s not content to stand still." All About Jazz says,
"Yao, a clear rising star with a lot to say, never says the same thing twice..."
... more

contact / help

Contact John Yao

Streaming and
Download help