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Sat, Oct 21


bar centro


Join MJI for the album release show of Reveal on Calligram Records.


Time & Location

Oct 21, 2023, 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM

bar centro, 804 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA

About the Event


Join MJI for the album release show of Reveal on Calligram Records. 

“Johnson’s sterling sound and quicksilver mind place him firmly in the modern jazz tradition.” — DownBeat   


Russ Johnson - trumpet and compositions

Mark Feldman - violin

Ethan Philion - bass

Tim Daisy - percussion

Seating is limited. Get your tickets today!


From the opening intervals of “Skips,” trumpeter and composer Russ Johnson’s Reveal makes good on the promise inherent in the album’s title. Slyly unveiling interconnected themes and infectious grooves, the chord-less quartet — an unusual front line of Johnson’s trumpet and Mark Feldman’s violin with drummer Timothy Daisy and bassist Ethan Philion — revels in a vast palette of sonic combinations and permutations. Along the way, Johnson and his associates navigate an impressive range of material, from the funky odd-meter groove that suddenly emerges in “Skips” to a masterful plunger elegy for Jamie Branch (“The Long Branch”) and a synthesis of the structured freedom of the AACM with lush post-Romantic harmonies (“The Slow Reveal”). “My entire career has been built on playing music in the cracks between ‘modern jazz’ and more ‘improvised’ music, says Johnson. “I do not draw a distinction between the two.”

Johnson is significantly aided and abetted in blurring genre lines by Mark Feldman, an equally omnivorous and versatile artist, and a recent Chicago transplant after decades as a mainstay on the Downtown NYC scene. “Mark is obviously one of the great violinists and improvisers of our time,” says Johnson. “We met in New York but only played together a couple of times. When Mark moved to Chicago, I knew I had to create a new project around him.” Feldman and Johnson are both consummate listeners and intrepid explorers on the bandstand and off. Well-versed in the traditional and extended techniques of their respective instruments, they, at moments, make it delightfully difficult to tell who is playing what. The improvised trio “TRM” (Timothy-Russ-Mark) is a pointillistic testament to this; listen to the other-worldly final minute of “Coda” for a lyrical, contrasting sample of their intertwining sounds.

Equally crucial is the work of Timothy Daisy and Ethan Philion, both separately and together, for on Reveal, they fluidly interpret the roles of bass and drums. Johnson comments, “I had played with Ethan and Tim individually in many configurations, but they had never played together before. When I conceived of the project, I envisioned pairing these two incredible musicians, strong personalities who could play anything but were perceived as coming from different scenes.” The two sustain a crushing groove on “Dog Gone It” (a nod to Julius Hemphill’s cult classic Dogon A.D.), for example, but at other moments Daisy can be heard on little instruments (“The Long Branch”) or simply extracting his usual incredible array of sounds and textures from a more traditional kit. Philion’s virtuosic forays, both pizzicato and bowed, at times extend into the violin register, where he briefly becomes a third horn before dropping back down to the lower octaves.

Throughout Reveal, the combination of Philion and Daisy proves as effective and organic as that of Johnson and Feldman, and indeed the quartet as a whole feels simultaneously inevitable and surprising. “I love lyrical, beautiful melodies as well as music that some may consider discordant, says Johnson. “I hope Reveal offers a wide palette of musical experiences for listeners with an open mind.”


  • Supporter Level Seating

    This ticket purchase helps support the evening's performance and includes a premier reserved seat.

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  • Reserved Seating

    This ticket purchase helps support the evening's performance and includes reserved seats.

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  • General admission

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  • Student admission

    Valid Student I.D. is required at the door.

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