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John Guerin

This article is about the American musician. For the Canadian politician, see James John Edmund Guerin.
John Guerin
Guerin in San Francisco, 1976.
Background information
Birth name John Payne Guerin
Born (1939-10-31)October 31, 1939
United States
Died January 5, 2004(2004-01-05) (aged 64)
West Hills, California
United States
Occupations Musician
Instruments Percussion
Associated acts

John Payne Guerin (October 31, 1939 – January 5, 2004) was an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician.


Guerin was born in Hawaii and raised in San Diego. As a young drummer he began performing with Buddy DeFranco in 1960. In the late 1960s he moved to Los Angeles where his talented drum work was utilized by artists including Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Them, Thelonious Monk, Lou Rawls, Ray Conniff, George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Nelson Riddle and countless others. From July 1972 to January 1973 he was the drummer for The Byrds, and joined the L.A. Express later that year. The band served as Joni Mitchell's back-up band on tour during the mid- to late-1970s; Guerin had a brief relationship with Mitchell at the time.

A leading exponent of the jazz-rock style, he was one of the most prolific drummers of all time.[1] Among his many contributions to motion picture and television scores, Guerin worked on the soundtrack to the 1988 film homage to Charlie Parker, Bird by Clint Eastwood. Those are also his drums on the theme song during the opening credits for the television series Hawaii Five-O.

In later years, Guerin worked with Oscar Peterson, John Faddis, Jimmy Heath, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, Justin Morell, Andreas Pettersson, David Basse, David Garfield, Gary Lemel, and Mike Melvoin.

Guerin died of heart failure on January 5, 2004 in West Hills, California.[2]

Selected discography

As sideman

With Gene Ammons

With Blue Mitchell

  • Blues' Blues (Mainstream, 1972)

With Howard Roberts

  • Antelope Freeway (Impulse!, 1971)

With Tom Scott

  • Rural Still Life (Impulse!, 1968)

With Gábor Szabó

  • Light My Fire with Bob Thiele (Impulse!, 1967)
  • Wind, Sky and Diamonds (Impulse!, 1967)

With Frank Zappa


External links

  • John Guerin Remembrance Website

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