John HicksJohn was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1941. As a child, he moved with his family around the United States. He began playing the piano aged seven; his development accelerated once his family moved to St. Louis, when Hicks was 14. He studied music at Lincoln University in Missouri and Berklee School of Music in Boston before moving to New York in 1963, where he soon found employment with blues singer Big Maybelle.
He was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1964–1965) and occasionally in the 1970s, worked with Betty Carter (1966–1968, 1975–1980), and was in one of Woody Herman's groups (1968–1970). From 1972 to 1973 he taught jazz history and improvisation at Southern Illinois University. From the early 1980s until his death he performed solo and led his own groups, including the Keystone Trio, with Idris Muhammad and George Mraz.
John played and recorded with jazz artists such as Lee Morgan, David Murray, Joe Lovano, David "Fathead" Newman, Pharaoh Sanders, George Mraz, Arthur Blythe, Kenny Barron, and Gary Bartz among others. He played the organ occasionally. John passed away in 2006.