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"Keyboard wizardry and good-time vocalizing...There aren't many who do what he does, or who do it as well." 

-The New Yorker


Johnny O'Neal is a world-renowned pianist and vocalist, known for his soulful, personable, and even humorous performances and virtuosic improvisations. His concerts regularly feature many styles, from jazz and traditional blues to pop, R&B and even gospel music. He has performed or recorded with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Anita O'Day, Carmen McCrae, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, and many more.


O'Neal started making a splash in the music world early on as a prodigious young teenager winning the 2nd Annual James Cleveland youth gospel piano competition in Kansas City.  He was later discovered by bassist Ray Brown who facilitated O'Neal's first album.  Over the coming years he would tour with artists including Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Carmen McRae.  He also toured as lead singer with Ray Charles' band following Charles' transition.


O'Neal continues to make waves in the modern era.  He played the part of Art Tatum (at the recommendation of Oscar Peterson) in the 2005 Oscar-winning film "Ray," performed and recorded with artists such as Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., and Ron Carter.  He is known to perform in Europe, China, South America, Canada, and all across the United States.

At the 2023 Detroit International Jazz Festival

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"[An] uncommonly warm baritone...technically polished and sumptuous as a vocalist...A pianist of more dimensions than a single set could reveal"

-The Chicago Tribune

"Gustily radiant blues singing...Leaving one of Mr. O'Neal's shows , you'll probably feel...unburdened." - New York Times

"An unerring sense of swing" -San Francisco Classical Voice

"A voice like maple syrup on pancakes"The Wanderer Online (Edmonton)

"[O'Neal] climbs the depths and heights, stepping into the unknown possibilities in his live shows.  He takes his audience for a memorable trip."  

-Connecticut Examiner

"A performer who loves to both entertain and connect personally with his audience."  -CT Public



March 9 2024

Winter's Jazz Club (Chicago, IL)

June 2024

Soul Jazzfest (Tahiti)

November 2024

Cotton Club (Tokyo, Japan)

November 2024

Blue Note Shanghai (China)

Recent Dates:

March 6 2024

Cellar Dog (New York, NY)

February 17 2024

Mezzrow (New York, NY)


February 2 2024

University Performance (ME)

January 13 2024

Mezzrow (New York, NY)

January 3 2024

Cellar Dog (New York, NY)

New Year's Eve 

Smalls Jazz Club (New York, NY)

November 18 2023 

Mezzrow  (New York, NY) 

November 17 2023 Uncle Cheef   

(Brewster, NY)

October 21 2023 

Mezzrow (New York, NY)


Nat King Cole Centennial Celebration @
Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Lincoln Center, NYC

Having fun and at the piano with pianist Aaron Parks in Paris

Shouting the blues with the Rodney Whitaker trio 

The piano stylings of the Johnny O'Neal Trio
@ Mezzrow, NYC

performances 2




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Pictured (L to R)

1st Row: Houston Person, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Sullivan Fortner, Veronica Swift

2nd Row: Itay Morchi, Mark Lewandowski, Daralyn Jay, Emmet Cohen

3rd Row:  Benny Green, Sheila Jordan

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