Carlson has spent the better part of his life pursuing his intense
passion and love for music. Studying at both North Texas State
University and later at Northern Illinois University, both well known
for their collegiate jazz programs, John earned a degree in Saxophone
Performance from NIU in 1986. Having worked in a wide variety of
professional music circles since 1984, John brings a wealth of
experience and skill to his passion for music.
In 1987, a
friend invited John to attend services at Willow Creek Community Church,
located near Chicago Illinois. John's vision for combining his musical
gifts with contemporary church music ministry took root at Willow Creek
and he soon committed his life to Christ and dedicated his musical gifts
towards glorifying God. John's soulful and emotional style of playing,
along with his innovative arranging, created what became one of the
trademark voices of the Willow Creek Music Ministry from 1987 to 2001.
Saxophone is John Carlson's main
axe but he also plays keyboards. John is also an incredible arranger and
producer. Here is what Norm Stockton (Bassist & Clinician, Maranatha! Music)
had to say about John's music.
"John demonstrates a keen understanding of true
musicality. Way beyond mere cool licks, he is one of the most expressive &
emotive players with whom I've had the pleasure to work. He possesses that
rare ability to discern when NOT to play, as well. John is a fantastic &
Expressions Of Instrumental Worship
features a special guest appearance by jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum in a duet
with John Carlson on his arrangement of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands."
And the horns are smokin'! (This recording was recently included on the CJA
Network Compilation CD, "Hymn
Favorites" containing 16
"jazzed up" versions of Hymns!)
Many of Johns arrangements/charts are available!
for other arrangements/charts by John or you can e-mail