John Seeley started learning the clarinet at a young age, and while studying for his A levels decided to take a fifth in music and pursue a career in music. He went on to study at the prestigious Dartington College of Arts, a leading contemporary arts college where he studied with musicologists Trevor Wiggins, Frank Denyer, and Bob Gilmore. While there he became more focused on jazz through his work with jazz pianist Lewis Riley and clarinettist Charlie Hearnshaw, whilst continuing his classical clarinet with Michael Langdon-Davis.
While studying for his degree he started teaching jazz workshops with a youth project called SaMS, and took up the tenor saxophone while performing with various university groups. During this period he undertook research projects of which one was spending six weeks in New Orleans, where he recorded regularly around the city, attended Xavier University, and conducted interviews that concluded in a portfolio on the cultural and musical aesthetics of New Orleans.
After leaving university he studied with clarinettist Richie Howard, and then pursued an MA in music at Middlesex University where he studied with composer Francois Evans, and wrote projects on Postmodernism in Jazz, the Cultural Aesthetics of Free Jazz, The Devising of a Jazz Workshop, and the musical style of BBC rising-star tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett.
He then predominately studied with Simon, and had lessons with saxophonists Paul Dunmall, Karen Sharp, and Alan Barnes. He has also attended and documented workshops by some of the leading British jazz musicians including Bobby Wellins, Peter King, Nikki Iles, Dave O'Higgins, Art Themen, and Alan Skidmore to name a few.
He teaches music theory and performance on the saxophone and clarinet privately. He conducts workshops with the Southend Jazz Co-op, Semer Jazz Workshop in Ipswich, and two of his own, a jazz workshop, and a saxophone workshop based in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. These two workshops produce two concerts a year to friends, family, and the general public in the Summer and at Christmas.
He has recently started a three hour Sunday Jazz Masterclass workshop run periodically that focuses on themes in jazz performance that are conducted in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. In 2014 he also expanded his Thursday night workshops to Colchester, and in 2015 Brentwood, under the title Special Jazz Workshops. These take place on certain Sundays in the year, and dates can be found under the Events Page.
He writes articles on aspects of jazz, and performs in a range of performances and recording projects with various groups and artists. This includes the professional jazz duo JazzDuo with guitarist David Warren, the quartet Interplay that performs Hard bop/Bebop jazz, and jazz duo Vieux Carré with guitarist Ben Fisher.
Past projects have included the quartet Chenenko with guitarist Alex Field, drummer Trevor Taylor and bassist Geof Harris, and the project Zephyr that recorded an album on the FMR jazz record label and is available to purchase on this website.