A Short Bio:
John Stanley Marshall was born in London, England. Honours degree in psychology at Reading University. Began playing at school and became seriously involved with music at university. Private lessons with several teachers, including Allan Ganley and Philly Joe Jones. After free-lancing on the London jazz scene, his first regular engagement was with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in 1964. Then with the Graham Collier Sextet, 1965-70, during which time he also played with John Surman, John McLaughlin, Dave Holland, Mike Westbrook, Graham Bond Organization, Joe Harriott, Indo-Jazz Fusions, Keith Tippett's Sextet and Centipede, Alan Skidmore and others.
In September 1969 he was a founder member of Nucleus, which won first prize at the Montreux Festival the following year and played the Newport Festival and the Village Gate in New York. Marshall played on the first three Nucleus albums, but he rejoined the band in 1982 for a much longer stint, appearing on two further albums in the 1980s. Also in the early 1970s he became a regular member of the Mike Gibbs Orchestra.
In the summer of 1971 Marshall left Nucleus to join the Jack Bruce Band, and in January 1972 joined Soft Machine, eventually becoming, later in the decade, co-leader with Karl Jenkins. During the 70's he also played with many leading American and European musicians, including Larry Coryell, Gary Burton, Mary Lou Williams, Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Ben Webster, Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge, John Taylor, Norma Winstone,Volker Kriegel, Gordon Beck, George Gruntz's Piano Conclave and various others. In 1973, at the Baden-Baden Free Jazz Meeting, he met and began playing with Charlie Mariano, Jasper van't Hof and Philip Catherine. In 1977 he joined Eberhard Weber's Colours until it disbanded at the end of 1981.
During the 80's and into the 90's worked with the Gil Evans Orchestra, lan Carr, John Surman - Quartet and Brass Project, Kenny Wheeler (quintet and Big Band), Uli Beckerhoff, Anthony Braxton, Manfred Schoof, Joachim Kuhn, Michel Portal, John Taylor, Alan Holdsworth, Norma Winstone, Gordon Beck, Jeff Clyne, Arild Andersen and John Abercrombie among others.
He has performed with several classical groups playing composed works; 1973, he worked with Matrix; 1974, with Tim Souster and Roger Smalley, he played in a BBC Promenade Concert from the London Roundhouse, and has performed for and with other contemporary composers. He frequently rehearses and performs new works with the NDR Big Band in Hamburg.
His activities include studio work, drum clinics, as well as lectures and teaching on workshops in Germany (Trier, Bremen and Weimar) and England (Guildhall, Royal Academy of Music and Wavendon). Was a Melody Maker Poll Winner in 1972 and 1973. Has worked with many singers including Sarah Vaughan, Leon Thomas, Norma Winstone, Annie Ross, Elaine Delmar and Karin Krog.
Principal activity at present, both nationally and internationally, continues with John Surman - plus projects with Steve Swallow, Andy Shepherd, Uli Beckerhof, John Abercrombie, Arild Andersen, Michael Gibbs, Mark Wood, John Etheridge, Theo Travis, Joe Sachse and others.
Since 1999, John Marshall has again been involved in the
'Canterbury' scene, with a succession of Soft
Machine-related projects. This has brought back
together the nucleus of early 1970s Soft Machine,
with Marshall, Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean.
The first version, called SoftWhere, in September
1999, featured pianist Keith Tippett; but in 2002 it
was resurrected with the addition of Allan
Holdsworth, with whom Marshall had played
not only in Soft Machine but also in various AH-led
outfits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. SoftWorks
recorded its debut album in London in June 2002, and
this was followed by gigs in America, Japan and
Italy between 2002-04. In late 2004, John Etheridge
replaced Holdsworth and the quartet now gigs as Soft
Machine Legacy; although Marshall had to be replaced
for some dates due to back problems, he remained
committed to the project until finally retiring from
active musical service in August 2022, shortly after
recording his final album with Soft Machine, Other