Gabriel Johnson Modern Jazz Trumpeter
Modern jazz trumpeter, Gabriel Johnson, a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, and an active studio musician who has played and recorded with the likes of Jill Scott, Diddy, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster and B.o.B among others, will release the self-produced Introducing Gabriel Johnson on September 25 on his Sunset Horn imprint. Johnson, whose varied influences range from MiLes Davis, to the Stones Throw Records label aesthetic of J-Dilla and Madlib, has created a vibrant wall-of-sound in which he blends the classic with the contemporary, for a sexy, raw, hip hop infused work. Johnson's modern jazz and hip hop blend provides the perfect backdrop for his trumpet playing to completely shine and take center stage.
The young trumpeter, who is managed by Erin Davis (son of MiLes Davis), will perform at his record release party on September 20 at Catalina's Bar & Grill. He will also make his Tonight Show debut on October 10 as a featured soloist with Placido Domingo. Johnson will tour and perform throughout the fall, with additional dates to be announced.
Comments Johnson: "When I first started conceiving the sounds of Introducing Gabriel Johnson, I had been listening to a lot of music that was very simple and melodic, but had tremendous fire and depth once you really dug in and peeled off the layers…The MiLes Davis and Gil Evans collaborations from the late 50s with their beautiful, intricate and simultaneously accessible harmonies, as well as those instant classic Madlib and J-Dilla records on Stones Throw, which had a huge influence on me. I also listened to D'Angelo's Voodoo, with it's utterly, raw sexiness which can never be overlooked in music."
Some might find this an odd connection, but to Johnson, it had everything he was looking for: It was melodic, accessible and highly enjoyable, with tremendous depth and complexity. Introducing Gabriel Johnson is comprised of 10 original compositions and three covers, with the lead single "Wait A Minute" being the catalyst for the rest of the album, with its simple melody and sparseness of the beat and harmony. Among the highlights include Johnson's brooding version of Radiohead's "Codex" off the 2011album The King Of Limbs, which provides a different take than the original version, while still retaining its powerful beauty and melancholy. Johnson says "I've always been a huge fan of Radiohead and was immediately taken aback when I first heard the song…I knew I had to do my own version."
Additional highlights include the raw hip hop infused "The Chief", a fresh take on the Gershwin classic "Summertime", the quirky "Jazz Cats," and the aptly titled "Old School." Throughout the record Johnson's trumpet soars front-and-center, showcasing his melodic creativity, infectious compositions and beautiful trumpet sound.
Gabriel Johnson is from Northern California. Earlier on, his greatest musical influence was his grandmother who preached the importance of the arts, and most importantly jazz. She encouraged him to check out Dizzy Gillespie at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1989, where he also caught Freddie Hubbard. He was hooked. A career turning point came in 2007 when Clint Eastwood called upon him to be a featured soloist with the orchestra on his Golden Globes nominated score to Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. Following the success of the Changeling soundtrack, Eastwood once again called upon Johnson to be the soloist in his Nelson Mandela biopic Invictus, which came out in December 2009.
Trumpeter Chris Botti, whom Johnson has also performed with, and counts as a major supporter, says “he has a beautiful and mature sound and I view him as the new standard for modern young trumpet players.”
For more information, including updated tour dates, please visit gabrieljohnsonmusic.com and facebook.com/gabrieljohnsonmusic.