Solo flautist, guitarist, singer and composer, John is best known for his work with his brother Steve Hackett, the former Genesis guitarist, and the ambient group Symbiosis.
He began by learning guitar until aged 15, after hearing Ian McDonald playing with rock band King Crimson, he took up the flute. He collaborated with his brother on his early albums, Voyage of the Acolyte and Please Don’t Touch before leaving Sheffield University to work with Steve, who had just left Genesis. This led to further recordings and tours of the UK, USA and Europe with John playing flute, guitar and bass pedals.
As a composer of flute music for relaxation, he has recorded several albums with Clive Williamson and the ambient group Symbiosis which has led to commissions for the BBC.
He has also recorded a number of solo and duo albums, mostly for flute. In 2000 Sketches of Satie for flute and guitar by John & Steve Hackett was released by Camino Records and chosen by Nick Bailey of Classic FM as his album of the month. This was followed by Velvet Afternoon for flute and piano with Sally Goodworth, an album of John’s own compositions inspired by the music of Satie and others.
2005 saw a change of direction with John releasing a rock album of his own songs, lyrics by Nick Clabburn, Checking Out of London which was given 5 stars in Record Collector magazine. A band was formed to promote Checking Out Of London, with Nick Magnus (keyboards), Tony Patterson (vocals), Andy Gray (guitar), Andy Hyam (bass) and Neil Marshall (drums).
An experimental flute/dance album Red Planet Rhythm with Moodi Drury was then followed by another album of John’s compositions for flute and guitar, Prelude to Summer, which featured guitarists Steve Hackett and Chris Glassfield.
In 2015 Another Life, the follow-up to Checking Out of London (again with lyrics by Nick Clabburn), was released on the Esoteric Antenna label (Cherry Red).
To support the release a trio was formed with John (guitars, keys, vocals), Nick Fletcher (lead guitar) and Duncan Parsons (percussion, vocals), which was soon expanded to a full band with the addition of Jeremy Richardson (bass, guitars, vocals) and Duncan moving to full drum kit. The band started public performances as the John Hackett Band in 2016, with both a live album and studio album planned for 2017.
He has toured extensively with the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio, including concerts in USA, Japan and Europe.
In recent years he has given several concerts with international organist Marco Lo Muscio in both the UK and Italy, playing a unique blend of classical and progressive music. Together with Carlo Matteucci they form part of Playing the History, alongside David Jackson, Giorgio Gabriel and Pino Magliani
John Hackett is one of the few flautists in the world to play a vertical flute.