With an incredibly energetic band of high level musicians, Pan Blanco is an original sounding ensemble that is designed to make the audience move. Many years of touring and performing experiences with West African, Funk, Soul, Salsa, Jazz and R&B ensembles have led to this project. John Roberts and Pan Blanco are melding high energy, danceable Funk, African and Salsa grooves with blistering instrumental solos, all aimed at sharing the love of the music with the audience.
John began playing the piano at the age of 5 while living on an isolated ranch in Southeastern Montana. At age 11, he picked up trombone to play in the grade school band. After graduating in 1996 from Montana State University Billings with a BA in Music Performance, John moved to Los Angeles to earn his Master of Fine Arts in Western Orchestral Trombone Performance from California Institute of the Arts.
Feeling equally comfortable in orchestral and commercial music realms, John has been touring, recording, and performing in Los Angeles, around the U.S. and around the world, including Mexico, India, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia and Africa. Tours include Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (Congolese/Cuban), Bobby Womack (Soul), Los Pinguos (Argentine),The Temptations, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and others. Other performances and recordings include multiple American and Latin Grammy concerts, Fallout Boy, Chris Botti, Feist, Sting, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra Jr., Chaka Khan, Burt Bacharach, The Ojays, Cher,Beverly Crawford, Christina Aguilera, NPR, PBS, Disney, and others.
After 17 years based in Los Angeles, John is currently on staff at MSU Billings teaching Jazz, music theory, low brass and world music. He regularly works and performs as a clinician and guest artist in schools, continuing to hone his skills as an educator by sharing the “real world” of music with his students.
John is active in the Montana and Los Angeles performing and studio scenes as an arranger, bandleader, session player and composer. Recent projects include: “Straight Outta Compton”, Ricardo Lemvo’s new Cuban-West African album, and John’s own world-fusion record “Soul y Pimienta”, which blends Cuban, African and American soul and jazz elements.
When not dabbling in the world of music, John is likely found (or not found!) gallivanting about the mountains or prairie via foot, 4WD, skis or mountain bike.