June 30, 2015

My name is John Bresnik.  I was the first-born of three children — born in Los Angeles, California in April of 1940.  My parents lived in West Hollywood at the time.  In 1944, my brother Rob was born and then in 1948, the family moved to the far west of Los Angeles (Pacific Palisades). Our sister Nancy was born in October of the same year.

I studied classical piano for three years, beginning in 1951. Then I studied jazz piano with a famous teacher in Hollywood, Sam Saxe. He was very expensive, but my dad wanted me to have the best instruction available in the area. So, thanks to dad’s willingness to spend the money, Sam’s methods and my practice time, I was able to start playing jazz piano professionally in 1955.

I went to high school with Nancy Sinatra and Jack Jones – our trio backed them on several occasions at the school musical productions. I was in a group with Chris Clark (bass player), who went on to play with Les Brown after high school. Joanie Sommers and I used to practice in the practice rooms at Santa Monica City College (here they are singing together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2YKMiTknhE)

Then to Arizona State in January of 1960 to finish out the four years. In August of ’61, I recorded my first album at Gold Star Recording Studios in Hollywood —http://goldstarrecordingstudios.com/.

In late August of 1961, I enlisted in the Regular Army, initially serving in Frankfurt, Germany with the 3rd Armored Division. Then in early ’63 I was transferred to Augsburg and played with the 24th Infantry Division Band. Our big band played several Glenn Miller arrangements, which were very popular with the German audiences, and I played cymbals in the marching band. In the summer of 1963, I recorded another album in Munich with fellow band members. That was with a quartet featuring Earl Moseley on tenor sax.

I met my future wife in Augsburg (from Dublin, Ireland) and we were married in Pacific Palisades, California in June of 1965 — we celebrated our 51st anniversary last June. We had five children from 1966 to 1977 and now have five grandchildren. Initially we lived in Santa Monica, but moved to Escondido in 1977 (100 miles south). We moved to Dublin in July of 1980 for a one-year sabbatical, and then returned to Escondido in July of 1981.

I’m currently focused on promoting my new website and the book which I published in January of last year (The Bresnik Jazz Piano Method – 55 Tips from an Old Pro). I plan to use the book to promote the online piano teaching program. It’s not quite done yet. I still have a few videos to add.

My hobbies and activities include cycling (road bike), photography and print-making, wood-working, writing, travel, keeping up with Sylvia’s activities and staying in touch with our children and grandchildren.



2 Responses to “About”

  1. Vera Highley January 2, 2013 at 6:27 PM #

    Hi, my step fathers grandfather was Sam saxe. Even though my brother his great grandson never got to meet him, he and I remember hearing many stories about the wonderful man he was. I’m glad you knew him.

    • brez January 3, 2013 at 12:52 AM #

      Hi Vera – thank you for mentioning this. I worked with Sam for about a year and a half — he was very helpful and he inspired me to practice a lot and get into the business. He worked out of his home in the middle of Hollywood somewhere (don’t remember the address). But, it was an older house, but it wasn’t in a residential area — as I recall it was in more of a commercial area.

      In his waiting room he had the walls full of photos of famous people who either knew him or studied with him. I saw several of the “name” jazz piano players of the day. So, it was quite a thrill to be in that company. To say you “studied with Sam Saxe” gave you an instant acceptance wherever I played. He was “THE” teacher to study with.

      Do you have any photos of him? Let me know because I’d love to have a photo or two that I can put on a new website I’m working on.

      Take care,

      John Bresnik
      Jazz Pianist who studied with Same Saxe…!

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