News / Arts & Entertainment

Trumpeter Gabriel Johnson Releases Debut Album

Gabriel Johnson (Photo by August Bradley)
Gabriel Johnson (Photo by August Bradley)
Doug Levine
Up-and-coming trumpeter Gabriel Johnson's spare, jazzy melodies have drawn comparisons to a young Miles Davis.  

While Miles Davis was one of Johnson’s most important musical influences, it was another iconic entertainer who helped jumpstart his solo career: filmmaker and jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood.  Johnson recalls making a good first impression at Eastwood’s home in Northern California.

“He was real cool and complimentary and he said, ‘You’ve got a great sound.  Do you want to come back tomorrow, I’m working on this movie and I think you could be right for it.’  And I said, ‘Ok, sure.’  So he played me the theme to what ended up being the end titles to ‘Changeling,’" he said.  "I cut it by myself in that house, and he said, ‘Ok, that’s great.’  So, I ended up going back there for about a month every day.  But that thing we did that first day ended up being the end titles.”

Trumpeter Gabriel Johnson Releases Debut Album
Trumpeter Gabriel Johnson Releases Debut Albumi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Johnson discovered jazz while growing up in Salinas, California.  His grandmother encouraged him to listen to horn greats Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard, and she supported his decision to become a musician.  After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music, he returned to California to work on recordings by a variety of jazz and R&B artists, among them trumpeter Chris Botti.
 
“I owe all of my knowledge -- as far as the way that I approach having a career, my vision, and thinking outside of the box -- I owe 110 percent of that to the advice that he’s given me and just his friendship,” Johnson said.

x
Johnson's debut album consists primarily of original songs and interludes.  But, he also put his own spin on tunes by Robert Flack and Radiohead, as well as a melancholy take on the time-honored standard, “Summertime.”  

"That tune in that particular key just had something of a moody quality," he said.  "Many people have done it many ways.  A lot of people have done it in a really up way or a really happy way, and I always just thought that my horn fits best in like a moodier context.”

“From the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed I’m sort of consumed with music and obsessed with it, but it never feels like work to me at all," Johnson said.  "I really like doing it.  I sort of enjoy the monotony of playing long tones on the horn every day and all that that kind of stuff.  It’s great!  If this is hard work, bring me all the hard work I can get.”

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."