Excelled as a soloist, bandleader, recording artist, and accompanist. He became Les Paul's first pianist since the 1950s in August 2003.
He became Lionel Hampton's pianist when he was 19.
He recorded several albums, including debut album John Colianni from 1986, Blues-O-Matic from 1988, and Live at the Maybeck 37 from 1995.
His parents recognized his talent early on and began searching for a teacher who could develop their son's evident keyboard skills. His father was famed author and activist James F. Colaianni.
He served as Mel Torme's pianist for six years.