John Shifflett almost received an M.A. in music from the University of Iowa, where he also taught Jazz Studies and directed big bands. He is currently an instructor at San Jose State University, teaching bass, small ensembles, and Jazz History. He has done countless studio sessions ranging from radio and TV jingles to jazz and country and pop recordings. His show business experience includes tours with Frankie Avalon and the Ringling-Barnum & Bailey circus, several seasons with the San Jose Civic Light Opera, and many engagements with stars such as Dinah Shore, Mel Torme, Jerry Lewis, Dionne Warwick, the Smothers Brothers, etc.
His primary focus, however, has always been jazz. He has performed with the likes of Dave Liebman, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Red Holloway, Ernie Watts, John Zorn, Kim Richmond, Madeleine Peyroux, Kurt Elling, Norma Winstone, Tom Harrell, Bobby Hutcherson, John Stowell, Harold Land, Kendra Shank, and others. In the Bay Area he can be heard with Boz Scaggs (and CD), Christian Tamburr, Shay Salhov, Eric Crystal, the Mike Zilber/Steve Smith quartet (and CD), the Scott Amendola Band (and CD), the Taylor Eigsti Trio (and CD's), the Paul Nagel Trio (and CD), the Dave MacNab Trio, Ann Dyer & No Good Time Fairies (and CD's), the Will Bernard Quartet (and CD), Anton Schwartz (and CD's), Ray Brown's Great Big Band, Ben Goldberg, Tim Volpicella (and CD), and many others.