16 A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. (KJV)
John David Black is from Blythewood, South Carolina. He is a guitarist/ multi-instrumentalist and plays a variety of musical genres. His musical endeavors begun before he was two years old when his Mom signed him up for his first music lessons. She noticed that he would conduct to the "beat" of those constantly repetitive TV commercials. He was actually featured in a commercial when he was in the fourth grade. John David’s grandfather for whom he is named, never fully learned to play the guitar, but he left his footprints on the sands of time. He would pick and strum and sing a little song to his children: "Children I hate to leave you now, children I hate to leave you now; but I got to go to work."
John David was very involved in Boy Scouts as a youth and is today an Eagle Scout. During a Scouting service activity, he and his brother Richard served as "doorman" during the "Citizen of the Community" Award presentation at the Columbia Museum of Art. This assignment was arranged by the Scout Executive Sheila Dantzler, who called on them frequently for "Scoutreach" activities. Although, JD and his brother were reluctant to attend the event, let along work it, John David's interested shifted once he met Chef "Fatback" who was a guitarist, local restaurant owner, and Barry Walker, the Councilman. Chef Fatback discussed music with JD and invited him to visit Mac’s On Main, his restaurant, where "live" music was featured during the week. JD acted on the invitation and soon found himself on stage one or two nights each week. Since JD was home-schooled for much of middle and high school, he welcomed the opportunity to apply what he was learning to a real interactive setting. The "old cats" Chef Fatback, Terry Morgan, Deek Jackson, Ralph J Bunch (RJ on Bass), Gregg Johnson, Kenny Rolle, and CJ Mack along with, “young cats” JMichael Peebles and Danny Kelly mentored JD and affectionately dubbed him "Johnny B Goode" since that was the first tune JD felt comfortable playing in front of an audience. He soon graduated to songs like, "Superstitious", "Voodoo Child" and "Breezin'". In addition to playing at Mac's on Main, JD would frequent the Hunter-Gather Restaurant where he got to jam with Skipp Pearson, South Carolina's Jazz Ambassador.
John David studied guitar under Mr. Kevin Coats for a number of years in middle school. Chef Fatback arranged for John David to take additional guitar lessons from JMichael Peebles, an up and coming young guitarist on the Columbia music scene. Over time, long after JD's lessons ended, JMichael would call on him to fill-in and substitute for him during guitar lessons. As a young musician, JD was also taught some tricks of the trade by local legends such as Dick Goodwin, renown composer, and Drink Small, National Heritage Fellow. Bess Daniels, a female vocalist along with Rick Williams of Mystic Vibrations gave John David his first opportunity to record his "Gospel Tracks" CD as a fund-raiser to attend Berklee College of Music. JD was a recipient of the Chris Conner Music Scholarship, another well-known musician in Columbia.
During John David's years at Mac's on Main, he was afforded many opportunities to work with outstanding musicians. One night while performing on stage, he caught the eye of Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues out of Chicago who came to initiate their Blues in the School in a local high school. The next thing JD knew he was “whisked off” to teach guitar at Branch's "Blues in the School". This chance encounter, boosted John David's confidence as a musician and soon he was performing with local bands like Mac's All Stars and Fatback and the Groove Band. He also performed with the following bands in Columbia, SC and Boston on occasion through the years: Coolie G and Lion S.O.U.L., The SoulVerse Project, Ark Angel Outernational, Soulunique, Souldelica, Triumph Church, Nu Urban Street Project Band, Jazmatic, Blythewood Jazz Band, Mike Stone, and Lawrence “Larry” Watson and the Workforce. In recent years, Dr. Watson, has taught JD the art of performing and song writing. He is one of JD’s most revered critics.
One of JD’s fondest encounters happened when he was driving down Main Street Columbia, SC. Looking out his window, he glimpsed someone who appeared to be George Benson. Turning the car around and stepping out, he confirmed it to be Benson. They talked for a while and JD told Benson how he had audition with the Bobby Womack cover song, "Breezin'" for admission into Berklee. Benson was surprised that a “young cat” would recognize him from afar, let along be hip to his music.
Participation in youth summer music programs at Julliard and Berklee as well as Auntie Karen Foundation programs enabled JD to participate in “Master Classes” with legends like Victor Wooten, Run of Run DMC, Ashford and Simpson, Patty Austin, Ramsey Lewis and Babyface.
John David is continuing his studies at Berklee College of Music while he writes and produces music. He released his freshman EP, "Thru the Door " in 2017. This EP features "smooth jazz" music; however, John David can present music that is soft or "edgy". He is set for his second CD release, "On the Way" which is set for February 2018.
Check out JD on FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter. Pick up his latest EP, "Thru the Door" from on this website or on any of the digital medial platforms (Tunecore, Tidal, Spotify).
John David is the founder and CEO of D.R.E.A.M.S. Enterprise and Company, LLC which is a music initiative that deals with all aspects of his music - Demonstrating Real Effort Always Makes Success”
Like Louis Pasteur, JD believes that:
"chance favors the prepared mind"