One thing’s certain when you listen to a Russ Johnson record: you’re going to hear music made with care and craft. Johnson is a discerning composer and trumpeter, and he has a special talent for producing thoughtful compositions that possess enough fluidity and creativity to remain fresh even after repeated encounters. He’s also adept at drawing from the pool of the larger artistic community of which he’s part. Back when he was a vital contributor to the New York scene, he teamed with folks like Mick Rossi, Kermit Driscoll, and Mark Ferber—the latter two having played on his excellent disc Save Big (Omnitone, 2004). But when he moved to Chicago in 2011, he could now join forces with guys like Tim Daisy, Jason Stein, and Anton Hatwich, all of whom appeared on Meeting Point (Relay, 2014). Now he’s got a completely different lineup, although just as Windy City-based, for the Headlands Suite, a live release recorded at Chicago’s Hungry Brain in 2017.
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