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Russ Johnson: Meeting Point

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Trumpeter Russ Johnson has been all over the progressive jazz map. He's been an A-list performer for several years. A longtime resident of New York, he recently relocated to Chicago and has become a major contributor to its fertile improvisational scene. On this release, he utilizes the talents of the region's prominent artists who push the envelope when it comes to risk-taking and thinking outside the box. After listening to this album several times--and as anticipated--Johnson and his cohorts hit ...


Russ Johnson: Working on the Tightrope

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New York trumpet player Russ Johnson's got a substantial résumé as a sideman on projects with players like Curtis Fowlkes, Johnnie Valentino, and Jenny Scheinman, but he's perhaps best known as a co-leader with Ohad Talmor in the longstanding Other Quartet. The side projects demonstrate his astonishing versatility, sensitivity and a technique that is unsurpassed by any trumpeter working today; the Other Quartet does so as well, besides showcasing some of Johnson's fine compositions--even if Talmor writes the majority of ...


Russ Johnson and Sean Jones: Save Big and Gemini

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Russ Johnson Save Big Omnitone 2005

“Saguache, the opening tune on trumpeter Russ Johnson's album Save Big, might be called a “WPA track--"worth the price of admission. It's a laid-back groove that evolves beyond feel-good into a feel-great exchange between Johnson and his partner-in-sublime, altoist John O'Gallagher. Along the way, Johnson deftly wields a mute to speak, cry, and sing through his trumpet. Save Big is as auspicious a leader ...


Russ Johnson: Save Big

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Russ Johnson Save Big Omnitone 2005

The title of Russ Johnson's Save Big is supposed to evoke the essence of the American phrase “Save Big! in a way that is direct and to the point. What it means here in this truly wonderful and important album is this is American music; not just that jazz is American in its core, but that this is American jazz. This is not to say ...


Mick Rossi/Russ Johnson: New Math

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On New Math trumpeter Russ Johnson and pianist/flutist/percussionist Mick Rossi expand the limits of improvisation and invention. Their duets are musical poetry slams, a blueprint for performance jazz, with three-digit numbers identifying the songs on this envelope-shredding disc. “2.70” begins with a wailing trumpet salvo from Johnson that sounds like a Dixieland ululation, with Rossi’s piano trilling behind him. An elephantine burst is the opening sound of “3.30.” Johnson provides the dramatic, fragmented backdrop as Rossi articulates the landscape. On ...