John Cain



Jazz For Jazz Lovers Concert

Wow! I so enjoyed how you and Katie resonated with me and all the people I spoke to who were in attendance. I've done jazz radio shows all over the country, Newport, New York, Michigan, San Francisco, Oregon, and met a ton of musicians, but you 'guys' know how to pull the strings to keep the music alive in our hearts. I like the way you both played off of each other, the comments during the songs, the meandering to different tunes while playing, and obviously the biggest weakness that you, John, in particular, will have to work on: Your sense of humor. (Kidding). Brilliant and refreshing in Denver.  You have fun while you play and still pluck our souls with your talents and musical knowledge.. 

San Diego City Beat

John Cain has a maraca for a heart. The most Latino gringo you’ll ever meet—owing largely to his love of Latin music—Cain’s new book, Life’s a Good Gig, is a behind-the-scenes peek at the crazy, fun and sometimes raunchy world of a touring musician. The memoir is a perfect read for all the dreamers and air-guitar players out there who never figured out how to travel and play music for a living. Cain will play tunes from his international repertoire and read and discuss his new book from 2:30 to 5:00 pm Saturday, July 28, at Greene Music Recital Hall, 7480 Miramar Road.

Classics Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego,

It was a blast having you perform with the Classics Philharmonic Orchestra!

Dana Mambourg Zimbric, Music Director-Conductor, Classics Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego, Ca

Cuenca Expats Magazine Feature

La Jolla Country Club

You made the celebration for my "amado mio" an evening to remember-Perfect choice of songs, superb performance, and the perfect volume to be both entertaining and allowing for conversation. Katie is so talented and beautiful that she fills the room with her charm and gifted interpretation. Thank you, thank you. You made our celebration remarkable!

San Diego Reader

Singer/songwriter John Cain, along with a troup of guest musicians, mixes Latin with mainstream rock and pop, navigating smoothly through the melodies, creating something that sounds as if it were made effortlessly. Latinate overtones set the mood as Cain performs songs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The song "From TJ to LA" includes a bi-lingual female accompaniment. His website calls his music "gringo salsa" and describes "From TJ to LA" as "sardonic." "FromTJ to LA, It's the land where the grown up children play, We dream and we die as the palm trees sway, from TJ to LA. See them running up the middle of the freeway, It's not very far but it's sure a long way, from TJ to LA. Look at this magic mess, I'd fake a lot for less, TJ to LA." A rolling rhythm and perky gutiars make this track the most memorable on the album, but the ending lacks a certain fullness when it switched gears and closes with an out-of-place piano solo. However, by albums end, Cain's talents leave an impression with his insistent beat and flagrant guitar licks.

The South Bay Beat

North America’s illicit love affair with Latin music is exquisitely consummated in the music of John Cain. It’s a marriage of breezy Brazilian jazz, Mexican boleros, Salsa, Spanish favorites and enchanting original songs and instrumentals. Cain’s infatuation with Latin musical genres began where he grew up in Southern California, right across the border from Mexico. ( In this part of the country, you’re seduced early on by the romantic Spanish language, the balmy climate, and captivating Latin rhythms. ) His travels to Spain and Latin America have infused his music with the scirocco winds of Spain, the torrid rains of Yucatan, and the sultry beaches of the Mexican Riviera. For souvenirs, he brought back spicy Bossa Novas, Sambas, and Mambos for everyone to savor, which he blends into his own brand of “Gringo Salsa.â€Â Listen. You, too, may find yourself seduced. Let Cain guide you expertly through this love triangle in Spanish, Portuguese, English, Italian and French. Once you’re an “aficionado you’ll want to dip into his tasty gringo salsa again and again!

La Jolla Cotillion

As I mentioned last night, we had so many great comments on you and your band's music!  I have never had so many people approach me to compliment the music as I did last night.  People are often quick to complain but it is rare that they will take the time to say they really like something.  I believe that reflects the superior quality of your performance.  You "played to the crowd" so well.  The variety of music was perfect, the volume of the music was perfect, the timing of the breaks worked well and the vocals were beautiful.  You made the evening a great success! 

Sharon Beldon, Chairperson, La Jolla Cotillion, La Jolla, CA

The Talent Smith Agency,

Thanks for being part of this (performance series at San Diego International Airport).  You were both terrific!  The chemistry on the stage really works nice.

Loren Smith, The Talent Smith Agency, San Diego, CA

House Party

Thank you for a most wonderful evening performing at our house party. We would not love anyone else but you two!

Silo's Jazz Club, Napa, Ca.

Terrific show, as always! Can't wait to have you back again.

Keith Stansberry, Manager, Silo's Jazz Club, Napa, CA

Advocates for Classical Music

Your performance at our fundraiser was the highlight of the evening, thanks!

Aveline Von Erinburgher, Advocates for Classical Music, San Diego, CA


John Cain, jazz pianist/band leader/arranger, wowed Anthology Friday night with his line-up of talented "Sinatra Tribute" singers, the gorgeous and exciting Katie Cat and the dynamic Dave Stanger. This was a first class New York-style Cabaret show also featuring the talents of the beautiful Adrian Nims on jazz sax and flute, along with the excellent (hand- picked by Cain) back-up musicians on bass, drums and guitar. Hope they will be back soon! It's rare to get this caliber of live music entertainment in San Diego.


San Jose, ca.

Katie and John, your show ROCKED!!  I absolutely loved it!

Jenny Lockwood, enthusiastic fan, San Jose, Ca

Westways Magazine (Auto Club of Southern Ca.)

May I Have This Dance? Another petite spot for 'touch' dancing is the Avanti Restaurant in La Jolla, where the excellent northern Italian cuisine competes with the dance floor for the attention of the patrons. But, John Cain who leads a three piece combo doesn't worry about that. Performing from 6:30 to 11 p.m., he knows the dancers will eventually find their way to the adequetly sized 900 square-foot floor. The emphasis is on leisurely paced romantic Latin music. And the 30-odd couples seemed quite content to sway for more than six minutes to Cain's soft bossa nova arrangement of "Girl From Ipanema," which concluded his fifth set of the evening.

Presidio Sentinel, San Diego, December 2007

Presidio Sentinel, San Diego, December 2007 LIFE’S A GOOD GIG DOT COM By Laura Walcher John Cain’s enjoyable book about making it - or not - in music might be called the “anti-Ron Woods” story. That is, it’s drugless. Cain’s story, and info for his cd’s and book is on his website. The unofficial John Cain - is right here: LW: For any hip-less reader living under a rock, tell us: what’s a “gig” - ? JC: A gig is a musician’s paid performance. Many younger cats trying to make it are too ready to perform for free. They’re hobbyists. A professional plays for free only for charitable causes - and knows: if you don’t value your talent, no one else will. The “music business” is the bar/hotel/restaurant business! Live music is the incentive to make sales. That’s what the gig is all about. LW: And ... what makes a “good one” -? JC: At a good gig, you get to do what you want! The venue’s good, the audience appreciative; you play music you like, and of course, you get paid. (Gee, here’s where artist-turns-mercenary!) And, you’re respected for what you do. LW: OK. Do you get any? JC: (Once in a while, but ………oh, you mean gigs!) I was at the Hotel Del for seven years, Elario’s (now Clay’s) for two, at Avanti (now Rippongi) for eight. I’ve gigged steadily at Humphrey’s, the Town and Country Hotel and more. But you rarely get it all. The pay might be good, but ... you could be stuck in a corner by the kitchen where waiters parade in front of you all night. You have to wear a uniform - or play music - that you don’t like? But - that’s the deal. To work steady, you accept the circumstances! A jazz musician in a country western bar just sucks it up without whining. For bad gigs the pro’s attitude is,” ...close your eyes until it’s over and collect the cash.” LW: You’re at the Sheraton (off La Jolla Village Drive), Tuesday nights. A good gig? JC: The Sheraton is a good gig. It’s run by the same folks who own Humphrey’s. They have decades of experience; it’s a joy to work for them. I’m at the Bahia Resort Hotel on Wednesdays - another good one. Besides locals, hotel guests and tourists from all over the world drop in. LW: You’re a musician, singer, song- and- book- writer, and maybe you have other talents we don’t know about. Order them up for us: JC: I just published a children’s book and CD that I illustrated. So maybe I’m also a cartoonist of sorts. Performing live music: instant rewards! The performance and the audience are present in the moment. (And, you can also bomb in the moment!) Writing is more of a vicarious marathon. (Hmm… good name for a band…? “Vicarious Marathon.”) You hope people like it, but it takes a while before you know. I didn’t think of getting rich or famous in the music biz. (And that’s exactly how it’s worked out!) But, I kid. I love performing and entertaining. I’m a big ham, so being a musician/entertainer is a good profession for me. Being an author seems to give one status that a “mere” musician doesn’t have. As an author, I get treated with more deference. Yet I express my ideas and feelings in the language of music more easily, so writing a book is hard work. Writing lets you get your say, tho, without being interrupted - even if it’s a challenge to put down your ideas and opinions in words and have them clearly understood. Now I’m creating a new career as an “author/musician.” From Seattle to San Diego, I perform in art centers, college campuses, libraries, book stores and sometimes music stores. LW. Your book cheerfully resonates with anyone in music, around musicians, and around town. JC: Since I was 15. I’ve watched the world go by from a bandstand. I wanted to share this unique view, and dispel myths and stereotypes about musicians. History books are always about famous leaders, but never about the grunts on the front lines. Same with books about musicians - little about the everyday, non-famous, working pros. Many musicians have helped and inspired me - older cats who shared their gifts and renewed my spirit, but they never made the “big time.” I’m telling their stories. LW. It takes a weird and wild imagination to create a rap version of “Beowulf” (in your book.) What got INTO you? JC: In my seminars in schools, I shock kids when I say that rap is not new. In fact it’s one of the oldest forms of music. Beowulf is probably the earliest rap song in the English language that is still extant. When it was written, before the advent of modern musical instruments (even before Hanna Montana), what we call rap was a popular form of musical entertainment. It goes way back before then, even to ancient Africa. It’s simply telling a story in rhythm and rhyme- with minimal musical accompaniment. LW: You’ve been gigging ‘round for ... umm, several decades - and still going strong. Want to change anything? JC: I’ve been a musician so long I realize that my entire life is the gig - and I want it to continue. Any time someone wants to pay me to play the piano and sing, I’m grateful for letting me be who I am. LW. You’re a very tolerant guy - you let me & my flute sit in with you at the Sheraton, before you even KNEW I could provide this amazing column. Tell me the truth, tho ... should I hang it up? JC: It’s your life - so make it a good gig. Never, ever, ever, give up! You may not have the fame and wealth of your dreams but at least you’ll go down swinging. (LW: hmm. WHAT is he trying to tell me?) ### Visit: