The Squid's Ear Magazine


Johnson, Max: Hermit Music (Unbroken Sounds)

An extraordinary set of solo double bass improvisations captured in the warm Booklyn Conveyor Recording Studio, Johnson showing his strength with his fingers on the large strings or a bow in his hand, in five turbulent and superb solos under reflection of personal struggles and the strain of pandemic, bringing a new sense of self and determination to his playing.
 

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Max Johnson-double bass, bow


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UPC: 5904224871130

Label: Unbroken Sounds
Catalog ID: U02
Squidco Product Code: 32216

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Conveyor, by Jason Borisoff.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Hermit Music is a collection of spontaneously composed pieces for the double bass and bow. From 2017-2019 I played a series of solo concerts in the US and Europe and wanted to capture the music I was creating at the time, so I planned to record in the Spring of 2020. Just before the Covid-19 pandemic began, my life had undergone some major changes and losses, but when New York shut down in March of 2020, I became deeply depressed and couldn't bear to play my instrument for months. While I watched musicians talk about how great it was to take time off, or how productive they were being, I struggled to get out of bed each day, and found it hard to put on my usual positive face. In many ways, the pandemic marked the ending of a very busy, productive, and happy time of my life.

The following two years have been a daily battle to resume being a positive productive human being, and this music represents the dark confusing place I have been living since. Recording this music was very difficult for me, and created a number of mental and emotional challenges I did not anticipate. What you hear on this record is a different bass player, improviser, and person than you would have heard two years prior, and this music symbolizes my struggle with self, reality, purpose, and mental health. This album represents who I am right now, and I am proud to share it with you."-Max Johnson, 2022


Artist Biographies

"Max Johnson is a bassist, composer and bandleader based in New York City. Known for his big sound, eclectic style and prolific output, Johnson has made a name in both the jazz and improvised music world, playing with legendary luminaries Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Muhal Richard Abrams, among others, in addition to becoming a first call bluegrass bassist, playing with legends Sam Bush, David Grisman, the Traveling McCourys & Tony Trischka. With 6 albums, and over fifteen hundred concerts under his belt, Johnson has proven to be an unparalleled force on the bass, and a unique, exhilarating voice as a composer.

Growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Johnson learned about music at an early age from his father, Glenn Johnson, drummer/composer of the band Leisure Class. At age 13, Max took up the electric bass, and after performing with local bands in Montclair, NJ, he joined the School of Rock in 2004, where he had the incredible opportunity to tour internationally and perform with Jon Anderson, John Wetton, the Butthole Surfers, Adrian Belew, Vernon Reid, Andrew W.K., Ronnie Spector, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and a long list of others. Johnson then attended the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in 2008, where he studied bass with masters Henry Grimes, Mark Helias, Reggie Workman, Cameron Brown & Marji Danilow; and composition with Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne & Bill Kirchner. While studying there, he began performing professionally in New York City, building a name for himself as a bassist and bandleader in the improvised music world, and a first call bass player in the bluegrass scene. Johnson continued his education at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he recieved his Master's degree in classical composition under Jonathan Bailey Holland, John Mallia and Roger Zahab.

Although young in age, Johnson has already crafted a unique sound and vision as an improviser, and is rich in experience, having performed with John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Nels Cline, Candido Camero, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Butch Morris, Karl Berger, Bobby Sanabria, Sylvie Courvoisier, Erik Friedlander, Mary Halvorson, Joseph Jarman, Kenny Wollesen, Elliott Sharp, Angelica Sanchez, and many others. As a bassist with a non-stop touring schedule, Johnson has performed over one thousand concerts throughout North America and Europe, including top festivals and performing arts centers such as Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Lollapalooza, Quebec City Festival, Bern Jazz Festival, and many others. Max Johnson has been featured as a sideman on over twenty-five recordings, including the platinum-selling Night Castle by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

An active bandleader, Max Johnson has six records to his name: Elevated Vegetation (FMR), The Invisible Trio & Something Familiar (Fresh Sound-New Talent), featuring Kirk Knuffke on cornet & Ziv Ravitz on drums; The Prisoner (NoBusiness) featuring Ingrid Laubrock, Mat Maneri & Tomas Fujiwara; and Quartet (NotTwo), with Mark Whitecage on alto saxophone and clarinet, Steve Swell on trombone, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Big Eyed Rabbit, his collaborative trio with Ross Martin and Jeff Davis, also released their debut album in 2014, Big Eyed Rabbit (NotTwo). His albums have been positively reviewed in the New York Times, NYC Jazz Record, JazzTimes, and other publications. El Intruso International Critic's Poll voted Max Johnson #1 Newcomer Musician in the 2012, and #2 Bassist and #4 Musician of the year in their 2014 poll."

-Max Johnson Website (http://www.maxjohnsonmusic.com/biography.html)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Hermit Music 6:54

2. Ghost Whistle 9:34

3. Haystacks 8:23

4. Glass Lungs 7:03

5. Woodmere (for Ed Maday) 7:45

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Jazz
Stringed Instruments
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers
Friends of Squid

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