PHILLIP JOHNSTON

Avant-Garde Jazz / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Third Stream / Fusion / Eclectic Fusion • United States
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The twisted avant-jazz of Phillip Johnston first reared its head during the early '80s, when the composer and saxophonist was a staple of the downtown New York City underground music scene. There, he performed with a variety of artists both in and out of the jazz community, among them John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Elliott Sharp, Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris, and the dB's. He is a founding member of the Microscopic Septet and, after its demise, went on to lead Phillip Johnston's Big Trouble and Phillip Johnston's Transparent Quartet. In addition to commissioned works in conjunction with a number of theatrical and dance productions, Johnston earned notoriety for his eclectic film work, scoring pictures by directors including Doris Dorrie, Philip Haas, and Paul Mazursky. Following the 1992 breakup of his group the Microscopic Septet, he soon resurfaced fronting the band Big Trouble, debuting with a self-titled LP on the Black read more...
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NormalologyNormalology
Koch Records 2001
$44.98
$5.99 (used)
Music for FilmsMusic for Films
Tzadik 1998
$10.99
$3.59 (used)
Diggin' BonesDiggin' Bones
Asynchronous Records
$12.70 (used)
Rub Me the Wrong WayRub Me the Wrong Way
Innova 2004
$5.85
$0.95 (used)
Merry Frolics of Satan: Georges Meiles ProjectMerry Frolics of Satan: Georges Meiles Project
Koch Records 1999
$6.94 (used)
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PHILLIP JOHNSTON Discography

PHILLIP JOHNSTON albums / top albums

PHILLIP JOHNSTON Phillip Johston's Big Trouble album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Phillip Johston's Big Trouble
Avant-Garde Jazz 1993
PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Unknown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Unknown
Avant-Garde Jazz 1994
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Flood At The Ant Farm album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Flood At The Ant Farm
Avant-Garde Jazz 1995
PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Needless Kiss album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Needless Kiss
Avant-Garde Jazz 1998
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Music For Films album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Music For Films
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1998
PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Merry Frolics of Satan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Merry Frolics of Satan
Avant-Garde Jazz 1999
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Normalology album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Normalology
Eclectic Fusion 2000
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Rub Me the Wrong Way album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rub Me the Wrong Way
Third Stream 2004
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Page of Madness album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Page of Madness
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2009
PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Adventures of Prince Achmed album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Adventures of Prince Achmed
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2018
PHILLIP JOHNSTON Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators : Diggin' Bones album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators : Diggin' Bones
Fusion 2018

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PHILLIP JOHNSTON Reviews

PHILLIP JOHNSTON Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators : Diggin' Bones

Album · 2018 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
kev rowland
At the same time as releasing Johnston’s soundtrack album, Asynchronous are also releasing the debut album by Johnston with his band The Coolerators, a band he formed after moving to Australia in 2005. On this album he provides both soprano and alto saxophone, and he has been joined by Alister Spence (organ), Lloyd Swanton (bass) with Nick Cecire (drums). Here we have a band showing that when it comes to playing jazz and blues there is often an overlap, here brought together with a huge amount of swing and funk. Swanton and Cecire do their best to provide a structure for the other two to work on, and then stay out the way while also displaying their own wonderful musical ability. Cecire is the more flamboyant of the two, with an impressive work rate on different areas of the kit, but Swanton keeps it all tied down and doesn’t let the band get too out of control.

Given the way Johnston and Spence combine together, or against one another, mixing in multiple influences and styles that is indeed no mean task. The title song sounds influenced by South America, India, Morocco and the Middle East but somehow all comes together and makes sense as Spence allows Johnston to take a far more prominent role. Two albums released at the same time, but two very different styles indeed, and it is hard to say which one is better, so best say instead that they are both indeed well worth investigating.

PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Soundtracks
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
kev rowland
Johnston has long been pursuing his own brand of avant garde jazz, but this is the first time I have come across him outside of his band The Microscopic Septet (whose 2017 Cuneiform album ‘Been Up So Long’ is simply superb). A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a special showing of ‘Suspiria’ where Goblin performed the soundtrack live in front of the audience, and this album is a similar construct, in that it contains the music Johnston composed as a soundtrack for ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, a 1926 silent silhouette animation that is a landmark in cinema history – the world’s first feature-length animated film. To breathe Reiniger’s silhouettes to life, Johnston composed a continuous score of 65 minutes of music to be performed live with the film by a quartet of soprano sax, trombone, and two keyboards, against a pre-recorded track of samples, loops and live drums. For this recording, the music is performed by Johnston (soprano saxophone) with Australian musicians James Greening (trombone), Alister Spence (organ, keyboards), Casey Golden (organ, keyboards), and Nic Cecire (drums), and broken by the composer into twelve individual tracks.

This is a complex album, one that needs close attention paid to it as the musicians embrace themes which may or may not be repeated, going off in tangents to the original, with trombone often playing a heavy bass part to contrast against the sax. The keyboards and drums are often in the background, with the brass taking centre stage. It is an album the definitely requires repeated listening, as the first time I felt there were certain passages and sections which were passing me by, all of which made far more sense the more time I allowed myself with the album. Well worth investigating, I just hope that Johnston will feel fit at some point to pop over the ditch from Australia and have some performances of this with the film here in New Zealand, as it would be well worth attending.

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