Rich Johnson
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Rich Johnson

Band Jazz Avant-garde


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The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Johnson's solo work bgean as experiments with Ableton Live, laptop, and electronic-acoustic treatments on the trumpet. A vast majority of the sounds he uses are sculpted out of his sampled trumpet playing, manipulated live with alternate sound controllers, including reprogrammed iPhones and Wiimotes.

Born in Northern Minnesota, Johnson began studying trumpet at a young age. He went on to a classical music degree in MN and then a jazz performance degree in NYC. After leaving academia he began to experiment with sampling and a 16-track digital recorder. This produced some interesting pieces but wasn't realistic for live performance. Soon, he ditched the 16-track for a laptop and began using Ableton Live and other programs. Over the next few years he would develop a compact, live performance setup that he's still expanding today.

Johnson has already started to receive critical praise. Dave Douglas, John McNeil, and Taylor Ho Bynum invited Johnson to be part of the 2008 Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) after hearing the record.

On his Greenleaf Music Blog Dave Douglas wrote, "Here's a great sample of new music made from trumpet." added, “Rich Johnson’s debut album is a vastly eclectic and thrilling collection which never quite settles for one genre or another, yet manages to remain fluid and consistent all the way through. Johnson has created with Up The Turret Mil a pretty impressive and unique record and positioned himself alongside some of the most exciting contemporary jazz musicians around in the process.” Peter Ekman of said, “Up the Turret Mil dodges the mega-crescendo format that underwrites so much noise, ambient and harsh alike. Rich Johnson has built an appealing, occasionally beautiful theater for the micro dramas of our quantum age.” said, “Although the music is strange and experimental, it never becomes harsh or discordant, maintaining an inner harmony and a fragile surrealism, vibrant yet controlled. Definitely a grower “Up the Turret Mil” is an album that can surprise every time it is heard, the lightness of touch just one of its many wonders.”

Beyond his solo work, Johnson has several other groups: We Can Build You - an electro-acoustic improv trio and Voice of the Turtle - a laptop duo. He has also contributed as a sideman to a number of projects including Jason Rigby’s critically acclaimed 2006 Fresh Sounds New Talent recording “Translucent Space” and Opsvik & Jennings’ “A Dream I Used to Remember”(2009 Loyal Label) and “Commuter Anthems” on the Rune Grammofon label (2008). He also curates a music series at the Brooklyn performance space IBeam.