Johnny Alegre attended the University of the Philippines College of Music in the latter 1970s, where he studied composition and was a founding member of the U.P. Jazz Ensemble. He studied with the jazz educator Dr. Joseph Howard and pianist Fred Robles, and participated in creative workshops by musicologist-composer Erhard Karkoschka, guitarist Ike Isaacs and composer-scholar Chou Wen-chung.
Alegre's involvement in bands and studio recording sessions, both as a musician and record producer, spans more than thirty years of Philippine jazz and popular music history and discography. In May 2002, Johnny Alegre formed the Johnny Alegre AFFINITY, with bassist Colby de la Calzada, drummer Koko Bermejo, pianist Elhmir Saison and saxophonist Tots Tolentino. Their first recorded work, "Stones Of Intramuros", written by Alegre, was included in the limited edition Philippine jazz anthology CD, Adobo Jazz Vol.1, which caught the attention of the U.K.-based jazz record company, Candid Records. Subsequently, the self-titled album, Johnny Alegre AFFINITY was released in the Philippines in mid-2005 and was re-released in England for global distribution as Jazzhound, capped by two sold-out engagements in London's PizzaExpress Jazz Club with guest saxophonist, Dimitri Vassilakis.
The greater part of 2006 and early 2007 Alegre and AFFINITY developed Eastern Skies, an album of original compositions, set to the symphonic backdrop of the Global Studio Orchestra conducted by Gerard Salonga. The project was released in 2008 by Candid Records (Philippines).
In 2009, a trio recording, in which the Alegre was joined by American jazz musicians, Billy Hart (drums) and Ron McClure (bass), was released by MCA Music (Universal Music Group), entitled Johnny Alegre 3. The album also marked Alegre's induction into the MCA roster as its first jazz artist from the Philippines.
In 2008, Johnny Alegre recorded "Humanfolk", a suite of his world music compositions and the subsequent concept band he undertook with the New York-based avant-garde percussionist, Susie Ibarra, together with her husband, drummer Roberto Juan Rodriguez, and Philippine-based musical artists Cynthia Alexander, Malek Lopez. In the ensuing months until 2010, Alegre wrote and recorded additional music for HUMANFOLK, most notably Para Sa Tao, the award-winning song he composed based on the Baybayin letters of the Pre-Hispanic Old Tagalog language. The collected eponymous undertaking was released by MCA Music in May, 2011.
Johnny Alegre is profiled in the book, "The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide" (Published by Hal Leonard, April 23, 2013) by the prolific jazz historian, Scott Yanow. In early 2014, MCA Music released an album entitled Stories, featuring highlights from Johnny Alegre’s seminal recordings with Candid Records.2002 - Adobo Jazz Vol. 1 - one track ("Stones of Intramuros")
2003 - The Concert at Remedios Circle
2005 - Johnny Alegre AFFINITY (CAN-KC-5001) aka Jazzhound (CCD 79842) (in the UK)
2006 - Environmentally Sound [World Wildlife Fund benefit album] (ALI) - one track ("Jazzhound" [radio edit])
2008 - Eastern Skies (CAN-KC-5006)
2009 - Johnny Alegre 3 (MCA-Universal)
2010 - Mammals (independently released for Japan Music Week)
2011 - HUMANFOLK (MCA-Universal)
2014 - Stories (MCA-Universal)
2014 - Epiphany (Independently released)
2015 - Naglalarong Ilaw (Independently released)
In 1974, he won second place in the one-act play category of the Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature.
In 1982, he received a trophy from the Philippine Ministry of Tourism as "Foremost Exponent Of Jazz" at the 1st Cebu Jazz Festival.
In 2006, he was conferred an Award Of Excellence ("for exemplary musicianship") by WWF-Philippines for his musical support of the "For A Living Planet" advocacy.
In 2010, he received a Plaque of Appreciation for his musical support of the Climate Change advocacy from a combined Oxfam and Dakila initiative.
In 2012, he was conferred an Awit Award for his roles as composer, producer and artist (HUMANFOLK) in the Best World Music Recording category by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry.
In 2013, he was conferred the Icon Award by the 8th Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival for his reinvention and furtherance of Philippine Jazz.
In 2013, he was conferred the Best Performer Award by the Kansai Music Conference
In 2014, he was conferred the Aliw Award as Best Instrumentalist by the Aliw Awards Foundation.
In 2016, he was conferred the Outstanding Professional Award as "Premier Jazz Composer, Guitarist and Recording Artist" by the Superbrands Philippines Council.
Johnny Alegre is a member of FILSCAP, the Jazz Society of the Philippines and had served a term as a consultant of the Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival. Other than his activities in jazz, World and Philippine music, Johnny Alegre is a member of Wikimedia Philippines, the national chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation in the Philippines. He became one of the Board of Trustees, starting from July 2014 to June 2016, and became the fourth President of the said chapter.