A very valuable bassist, John Heard has appeared in a countless number of musical situations through the years, always distinguishing himself. He started out playing saxophone but switched to bass before joining the Air Force in 1958. After his discharge, Heard worked in Pittsburgh, spent time living in San Francisco (1966-68) playing with Al Jarreau, and primarily freelanced in New York and Los Angeles. Among his many musical associations have been Booker Ervin, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, Randy Weston, Ahmad Jamal (1972-77), the Count Basie Orchestra (1974-76), Toshiko Akiyoshi, Louie Bellson, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Joe Williams, Barney Kessel, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis plus many others. Because he is a skilled artist, there have been times when it appeared that John Heard would retire from music, but his absences have been fortunately quite brief. His one date as a leader took place in 1983 for the tiny Los Angeles-based ITJ label.