RTV: Phillip Johnston

Release Date: Saturday, May 8, 2010

In this episode, Phillip Johnston talks about his newest group, Transparent Sextet, and performs four contrasting compositions: Pipeline, Diggin’ Bones, Tango, and “I’m Squeamish.

Pipeline, a joyous riff piece, is followed by Diggin’ Bones, a kind of jazz with obsessive turning figures and high-stepping klezmer-influenced riffs with time-stretching solos by each member of the group. Tango is a wonderful minor-ish ballad, succeeded by an eccentrically angular composition humorously titled I’m Squeamish. Johnston discusses his collaborations during the 1970s and 1980s with musicians such as John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, and others in the San Francisco Bay Area and Lower Manhattan. He speaks about forming his first band, the Microscopic Septet, writing songs and dealing with lyrics, and working in theater, dance, and film.

Aired on rTV: 2001
Performance date: 03/17/1996
Episode release date: 05/08/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley


Saxophonist composer, Phillip Johnston, writes for diverse media such as film, dance, theater, television, and advertisements. During the 1970s, he formed relationships with artists such as John Zorn, Joel Forrester, Dave Hofstra, and Eugene Chadbourne, moving between San Francisco and New York City. He has toured the US, Canada and Europe with his bands including the Big Trouble, Greasy Chicken Orchestra, Casual Geniuses, Public Servants, Blue Lounge and others, appearing worldwide at venues such as the JVC Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Musica della Ombre Festival (Rome), Lincoln Center, and Tampere, Berlin, Vancouver, and Gr–ningen Jazz Festivals.