The final concert for 2020 - 31st October

Concert - Lucien Johnson Quartet ( Jazz)

Lucien Johnson ( tenor saxophone) is joined by some of New Zealand’s finest musicians: celebrated pianist Jonathan Crayford; and Tom Callwood, eminent double bassist Cory Champion on the drums. 

Time: 7.00pm
Date: Saturday, 31st October, 2020 
Venue: Old Library Building Arts Centre, 7 Rust Ave, Whangarei

All compositions by Lucien Johnston except where otherwise noted:
Blue Light
Magnificent Moon
Te Pō
Jungle Rendezvous
West of the Sun
Spooning (Butch Morris)
Morning Song (David Murray)

The Quartet will perform original compositions from Lucien’s 2017 album West of the Sun (nominated for a Tui award for Jazz Artist of the Year) as well as new material from his upcoming album Kairangi. The music is reflective of some of the places that he has lived in and travelled to: France, Haiti, Ethiopia and of course, some reflections on our own wonderful country and musical heritage. Included in the set are two traditional waiata which Lucien will reinterpret. As a recent recipient of the Harriet Friedlander Residency he has returned from New York for the tour and looks forward to sharing how this experience has influences the music!

Lucien Johnson has been acclaimed as:

“a saxophonist and composer of rare excellence and mettle” (Wellington Jazz Festival,

 “a miraculous musician” (Radio NZ) 

“a composer and arranger of supreme skill” (Dominion Post)

“a saxophonist and composer of rare excellence and mettle. He is one of a very few artists performing and writing currently who deserves to be both revered and respectfully feared; revered because of his skill, and feared because he casts a tall and ominous shadow over jazz and how it should be played. A rare combination of musical skill, knowledge and gutsy, intuitive jazz sensibilities, he is an artist impossible to forget” ( Meow Events )

LUCIEN JOHNSON is a composer and saxophonist from Wellington. His music has been greatly informed by his global travels and encounters. Living in Paris for most of his twenties, he performed with jazz legends such as Alan Silva, John Betsch and Steve Potts; he wrote music for theatre ensembles which toured in Europe, India and collaborated with voodoo drummers in Haiti; he later toured the world with iconic NZ bands such as the Black Seeds and Lord Echo, at the same time as completing his doctoral research in modern Ethiopian music with which he performed with the great Mulatu Astatke in his club in Addis Ababa.

As a composer Johnson has created several albums, the last of which “West of the Sun” on Japanese label Wonderful Noise was nominated for the NZ jazz artist of the year. He has written for the NZSO and his piano pieces “Addis Nocturnes” (2017) were premiered in Paris for a celebration of the music of Ravel. He has composed extensively for dance companies including the New Zealand Dance Company, Footnote NZ Dance and Borderline Arts Ensemble, whose latest production “Strasbourg 1518” features in the NZ Festival 2020.

As recipient of the Harriet Friedlander Residency from the Arts Foundation, Johnson has spent most of the past year in New York soaking up the performing arts world of the Big Apple and rubbing shoulders with musical giants.

JONATHAN CRAYFORD is a prolific composer, performer and pianist, who has spent 20 years honing his craft in New York before returning to NZ in the naughties to rock the music scene. Crayford has most recently been living in Paris and Spain, writing a film/opera and recording two albums of solo piano music in Spain and a trio album in New York. Acclaimed as a highly original
compositional talent, and pianist, Crayford has been responsible for many film soundtracks, albums, and bands. As a sideman, he has worked with Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, David Murray, Groove Collective, Amp Fiddler, Questlove, Mambo Macoco, Bruno Lawrence and many others.

TOM CALLWOOD has been a leading Wellington bass player for two decades. He is a member of the Phoenix Foundation and Little Bushman and has performed with international jazz stars such as Evan Parker and Barre Phillips.

CORY CHAMPION is a recent graduate from the New Zealand School of Music, who has impressed audiences with his sensitive jazz drumming. He is also a sound artist, having recently completed his exhibition “Time/Tone” as a result of the Toi Poneke NZSM Sound Residency.


Listen to Lucien’s 2017 album West of the Sun:

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