John Kolivas Bassist and group leader, John Kolivas (born in 1961) founded the Honolulu Jazz Quartet in the summer of 2001. Over his 25+ years as a professional bassist, John has had the privilege of performing in Hawaii and New York with jazz luminaries including Larry Coryell, Herb Ellis, Makoto Ozone, Don Grusin, John Clayton, Bud Shank, Jeff Hamilton, Eric Marienthal, Arturo Sandoval, Conrad Herwig, John Pizzarelli, Robin Eubanks, Jimmy Rowles, Tiger Okoshi, George Benson, Grady Tate, Richie Cole, Nestor Torres, Valery Ponomarev, Shelly Berg, Gabe Baltazar, Betty Loo Taylor, and Flip Nunez. He has also backed vocalists including Rosemary Clooney, Lea Salonga, and Wayne Newton.
While living in New York City (1982 – 1990), John also performed on Broadway in The Tap Dance Kid and Big River, and on tour with The Pirates of Penzance and The Gregory Hines Show. As a bassist with the Honolulu Symphony since 1997, he has accompanied Yo Yo Ma, Denyce Graves, Tan Dun, Andre Watts, and Pinkas Zukerman. Kolivas can also be heard on recordings with Hawaiian slack key guitar masters Keola Beamer, Kapono Beamer and vocalist Keali’i Reichel’s Grammy nominated recording, Ke’alaokamaile.
John has also taught in jazz clinics in connection with the Hawaii International Jazz Festival with Makoto Ozone, Larry Coryell, and Gabe Baltazar. Currently, John teaches double-bass, electric bass, jazz improvisation, and assists with the orchestras at the prestigious Punahou School in Honolulu. John’s instructors on the bass include Rufus Reid, Francois Rabbath, Jeff Bradetich, and Honolulu Symphony bassists Herb Ward, Mike Gorman, and George Wellington.