Saturday, 2 March 2013

Roulette TV: Phillip Johnston directed by Uri Gal-Ed

Saxophonist-composer Phillip Johnston is a prolific writer of film scores (including music to classic silent films commissioned by the American Museum of the Moving Image and the Film Society of Lincoln Center), dance and theatre music, television and advertising themes, and he has performed with many other musicians and performance artists. He has toured the US, Canada and Europe with his own bands that include Big Trouble, The Greasy Chicken Orchestra, The Casual Geniuses, The Public Servants, The Blue Lounge and others and has appeared worldwide at venues such as the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Musica della Ombre Festival (Rome), Lincoln Center, and the Tampere, Berlin, Vancouver and GrÐningen Jazz Festivals. On this video, Johnston's newest group, The Transparent Sextet, play four elegant, contrasting compositions: a joyous riff piece entitled "Pipeline", followed by "Diggin' Bones" which is a kind of jazz march with obsessive turning figures and high-stepping klezmer-influenced riffs with time-stretching solos by each member of the group, a wonderful minorish ballad called "Tango", and an eccentricly angular composition humorosly titled "I'm Squeamish". Later, Johnston discusses his collaborations of the 1970's-80's with many musicians including John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, and others both in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Lower Manhattan's so-called downtown music scene. He speaks about the formation of his first band The Microscopic Septet, about writing songs and dealing with lyrics, and being led to work in theatre, dance and film without becoming embittered about when one has not (yet) attained the status of being a "household word".

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