Jonny Beckett has been playing saxophone professionally for many years. He has been a featured soloist with the world famous One O'clock Lab Band at the University of North Texas as well as the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, recording several albums with each group. He has shared the stage with Gene Perla, Rick Margitza, Bobby Shew, Harry Connick Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Steve Allen, Jimmy Heath, Joe Williams, Stefan Karlsson, Lynn Seaton, Kenny Rogers, Ray Price, The McGuire Sisters, The Temptations, The Coasters, The Ojays, Papa Grows Funk, and Brave Combo among many others. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from Loyola University (New Orleans), a Master's degree from University of North Texas, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois.
Jonny Beckett has always wanted to play the saxophone. When he was 9 years old, his dad bought him an old Buescher Aristocrat alto sax from a pawn shop in Springfield Missouri. Within a couple years, he was studying with Kim Park, who had played in Stan Kenton's orchestra. Mr. Park introduced Jonny to jazz, giving him cassette tapes of albums by Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, and other jazz greats. In tenth grade, Jonny switched to tenor saxophone at the request of his band director, because the tenor played the most solos in the jazz band. He has played tenor as his primary instrument ever since. Not long after that, Jonny met saxophonist Richard Bruton, who introduced him to the music of John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin, and Steve Grossman among others. Richard was very supportive, allowing Jonny to sit in with his band when Jonny was 17 years old. Richard has always been very positive and supportive, and Jonny considers him to be his greatest influence. After high school, Jonny spent a short time at North Texas State before eventually getting a bachelor of music degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, where he took in the music and culture of that great city. Jonny returned to North Texas to pursue his Master of Jazz Studies degree. During that time he was a featured soloist on 2 Lab albums as well as the Live in Thailand CD. It was also during that time that he met guitarist Terry Hankins and bassist James Driscoll, who play on his recent Armored Records release Son of a Mother . In 2004 Jonny was diagnosed with stage-four lymphoma. After a grueling regimen of treatment including six rounds of chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant, he has been cancer free since May 2005. Since then he completed his Master's degree from North Texas, and in May 2013 he was awarded the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Saxophone Performance from the University of Illinois. During that time he had the privilege of meeting and playing a gig with acclaimed bassist Gene Perla, who had graciously provided indispensable assistance with Jonny's doctoral thesis. Most recently Jonny released his first CD Son of a Mother on the Armored Records label, thanks to Stockton Helbing who is the CEO of that label as well as the drummer on the disc. Jonny currently lives in Urbana Illinois with his wife of 10 years, Penné.