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Russ Johnson: Research & Creative Activity Award

Published: August 26, 2020

By: UW-Parkside Marketing & Communications

Russ Johnson is an associate professor in the Music Department at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies, where he won the university “Stella Gray” Teaching Excellence Award in 2016. He teaches courses in Jazz Appreciation, Jazz History, and Improvisation, among others.

Long before joining the UW-Parkside Music Faculty in 2010, Russ had already established impressive international credentials in the world of Jazz during his 23-year residency in New York City. While still maintaining a very full schedule of successful teaching and dedicated service at UW-Parkside, his artistic profile and reputation as a composer and jazz trumpeter has only continued to grow and diversify in recent years.

He has produced eight full-length CD recordings as a leader or co-leader, and has performed on more than 75 recordings as a supporting artist. Russ has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in Jazz including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, and many others. In addition, he has recorded and/or performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians in the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby, and has performed in more than forty nations across the globe. His groups have recently performed at the Chicago, Winter Jazz Fest (NYC) Hyde Park, (Chicago) and Bergamo, (Italy) jazz festivals.

Since its founding in 1934, ‘DownBeat’ magazine has been the most respected and widely referenced journal in the field of Jazz. Two of Russ Johnson’s recent recordings, Meeting Point (Relay Recordings) and Still Out To Lunch! (Enja Records) received 4.5- and 4-star reviews respectively from DownBeat Magazine and appeared on many “Best Recordings of 2014/15” lists, including those within DownBeat, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, NYC Jazz Record and Magnet magazine.

A culminating moment in this array of impressive artistic and professional accomplishments was the fall 2019 announcement that his most recent CD entitled Headlands (Woolgathering records) was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Jazz Instrumental Album”. This is a truly singular accomplishment, and one that reflects an ongoing commitment to artistic work of the highest professional caliber and international standing.

Congratulations, Russ Johnson!

Russ Johnson
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