John “Jazz” McGrath was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and moved to Fairfax, Virginia when he was 12 years old. At age 18, John Jazz left Fairfax, VA for Manhattan, NY.
While attendying NYU, John interned at the legendary Record Store/Music Label Fat Beats. He also DJed for “Wheels of Steel Radio” with host Caness on WNYU. At age 19, John Jazz started to produce music as well. During this period of his life, John was able to spin at venues such as The Knitting Factory, CBGBs, Bowery Poetry Club, Crash Mansion, People, The Lions Den, The Five Spot, and Karma amongst others.
After touring the US and Canada with the Hip Hop group The 512 Collective, John moved to Guatemala to serve in the US Peace Corps in 2007. He spent 2 and a half years building wood-burning stoves, a gravity-flow water system, grey-water filters, planting trees, and teaching English in rural Guatemala. From time to time John would travel from his rural mountain home to DJ in bigger cities such as Guatemala City, Antigua, and Xela. John also played drums in his village’s Church Cumbia band. Although music continued to be a huge part of his life during this time, his main focus was helping the Guatemalan people and gaining spiritual insight.
In 2009, John Jazz returned to Washington DC and began DJing once again. He also joined the Dominican Merengue group DC Mambo as a saxophonist from 2010 to 2012. They performed at venues such as Fur, Station 9, Liv, Bravo Bravo, and Galaxy Nightclub. Slowly but surely, John Jazz has become a staple in the DC music scene. As a DJ, he has held down residencies at venues such as 18th St. Lounge, The Black Cat, Marvin, Brixton, Red Rocks, Science Club, The Beacon Hotel, The Renaissance Hotel, and The Ritz Carlton. He has performed at numerous venues throughout the DMV and is willing to play for any crowd. Currently he is the band leader/saxophonist for the live Hip Hop group Champion Sound.
John specializes in mixing up a blend of Hip Hop, R&B, Funk, Soul, Disco, Rock, Pop, 80s, 90s, Reggae, House, Latin (Salsa, Bachata, Cumbia, Merengue, Mambo), International Flavors (Brazilian, African, European, etc…) and always PLAYS TO THE CROWD!
Equipment: Technics SL-1200 MK2 turntables, Rane TTM-56 mixer, Ortofon Electro needles, Sony MDR-V500 headphones, Serato Scratch Live 3, Mackie Thump TH-15A speakers with Pro Stands, EV EKX-15SP subwoofer, and crates of LPs, 12” singles, and 45s.