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Aaron Bennett / Darren Johnston / Lisa Mezzacappa / Frank Rosaly: Shipwreck 4

Read "Shipwreck 4" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Chicago-based session ace and solo artist, drummer Frank Rosaly aligns with San Francisco Bay Area notables for a meeting of like-minded, highly skilled improvisers. After a gig in Frisco, the musicians' scheduled time to record this quartet date. Unfortunately, Shipwreck studios was destroyed in a fire a few months after this session and the musicians decided to pay a bit of homage via the album moniker. As improvisers amid the semi-structured song-forms, they do what they characteristically do ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Aaron Bennett / Darren Johnston / Lisa Mezzacappa / Frank Rosaly: Shipwreck 4

Read "Shipwreck 4" reviewed by John Sharpe

Named after the Oakland studio where the disc was recorded, the Shipwreck 4 brings together three West Coast improvisers with Chicago drummer Frank Rosaly for a program of six collectively created selections. As apparent on Everybody's Somebody's Nobody (Clean Feed, 2016), his duet with guitarist Fred Frith, trumpeter Darren Johnston's work maintains a melodic core, albeit one masked by occasional extended techniques. Aaron Bennett matches the trumpeter with adventurous but controlled tenor saxophone, delivered in a light airy tone. Bassist ...

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Darren Johnston's Gone To Chicago: The Big Lift

Read "The Big Lift" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Canada-reared, but calling San Francisco home since 1997, trumpeter and composer Darren Johnston delves into the Chicago's avant, modern-jazz establishment and kicks off a vibrant set, with prominent constituents of The Windy City's fertile soundscape. With The Big Lift, the trumpeter's ascending status within the outer reaches of jazz attains another hierarchical level. Peppered by an undulating groove-quotient, the ensemble combines a frothy and infectious mode of attack by incorporating the blues, mainstream jazz, and avant-garde musings with ...

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Darren Johnston: The Edge Of The Forest

Read "The Edge Of The Forest" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Thoroughly modern doesn't always equate to thoroughly enjoyable and exceedingly complex rarely yields delight. But if the composer is Darren Johnston and the musicianship is of these high standards, the outcome is instantly satisfying.

The Edge Of The Forest is the trumpeter's first Clean Feed disc as leader, but he has been heard on Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra's New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed, 2007) and No(w) Music (Cadence, 2002). He also leads United Brassworkers Front, an eclectic ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Darren Johnston: The Edge of the Forest

Read "The Edge of the Forest" reviewed by Troy Collins

Canadian-born Darren Johnston was recently chosen by Down Beat Magazine as one of 25 Trumpeters of the Future. Currently working in the Bay Area's fertile new music scene, Johnston is a prime example of the new generation's eclectic interpretation of the jazz tradition. After acquiring his Master's in composition from Mills College in Oakland, California, Johnston went on to hone his craft with such legends as Fred Frith, Myra Melford and Rova. Besides recordings of his collaborative work, The Edge ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Darren Johnston / Fred Frith / Devin Hoff / Larry Ochs: Reasons for Moving

Read "Reasons for Moving" reviewed by Ivana Ng

Reasons for Moving is what an improvised session should sound like: thoughtful, seamless, dynamic, comfortable. “Dawn & The Flat Irons" begins as a conversation between trumpet (Darren Johnston) and bass (Devin Hoff). When drummer Ches Smith comes in, the tune branches off, allowing Smith, Fred Frith (electric guitar) and Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones) to play more sparsely. The softer tracks on the CD are more effective. In “Deep North," Smith and Ochs ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Darren Johnston / Fred Frith / Larry Ochs / Devin Hoff / Ches Smith: Reasons for Moving

Read "Reasons for Moving" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Darren Johnston (trumpet), Fred Frith (electric guitar), Devin Hoff (bass), Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones) and Ches Smith (drums) stamp their class as improvisation and free jazz explode in aural splendor and imaginative propulsion on this collaboration. Each has established an undiluted reputation as a forward thinker in taking improvised music into new realms. Change for them is a constant challenge, one they meet on-the-go as they play with their own bands and with other musicians who answer to ...


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