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Russ Johnson Quartet

  • Arts + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

Since relocating to the Midwest after a 23-year run in the New York City jazz scene, Milwaukee-based trumpeter Russ Johnson has explored new ideas and projects with a handful of internationally acclaimed Chicago musicians. His current collaborations include the adventurous Russ Johnson Quartet, with Jason Stein (bass clarinet), Anton Hatwich (bass), and Tim Daisy (drums). The group's 2014 album Meeting Point starts on a driving, angular note with opening track “Lithosphere.” But elsewhere on the album, especially on "Chaos Theory," the group unfolds into a certain airy expansiveness, inhabiting a more exploratory space. Their drive weaves back in, however, with a sharp exchange between pulse and temporal stasis. The product is a balance of freedom and control, as the quartet steers through an abundance of rich sonic experimentation. —Emili Earhart