Current Employment

  • Director of Jazz Studies, University of Wisconsin-Parkside January 2010 – present


  • Manhattan School of Music, Master of Music, 2000
  • Manhattan School of Music, Bachelor of Music, 1997
  • Berklee College of Music, Undergraduate Studies, 1984-85

Private Studies

  • Classical:  Chris Gekker, Vincent Penzarella, Laurie Frink, Edward Treutel
  • Jazz:  Tim Hagans, Randy Brecker, Byron Stripling, Lou Soloff
  • Jazz Theory and Improvisation:  Garry Dial
  • Classical Composition:  Ludmilla Uhlela, Giampaolo Bracali


Leader /co-leader:

  • Russ Johnson | Still Out to Lunch | Enja Records (2014)
  • Russ Johnson | Meeting Point | Relay Recordings (2014)
  • Co Streiff/Russ Johnson Quartet | In Circles| Intakt Records (2012)
  • Russ Johnson Quartet | Save Big | OmniTone Records (2004)
  • The Other Quartet | Sound Stains | Knitting Factory Records (2001)
  • The Other Quartet | 13 Pieces | Knitting Factory Records (1999)
  • Russ Johnson/Mick Rossi Duo | New Math | ToneScience Records (2004)

Sideman: (selected)

  • Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor 6tet |L’Histoire du Clochard| Palmetto Records
  • Lee Konitz |New Nonet|  OmniTone Records
  • Jenny Scheinman |Shalagaster| Tzadik Records
  • Jenny Scheinman |The Rabbi’s Lover| Tzadik Records
  • Michael Bates | Acrobat: Music for, and by, Dmitri Shostakovich | Sunnyside Records
  • Michael Bates | Clockwise| Greenleaf Records
  • Michael Bates  |Live in New York| Greenleaf Records
  • Jon Irabagon |Outright!| Innova Records
  • Greg Ward  Touch My Beloved’s Thought | Greenleaf Records
  • Matt Ulery’s “Loom” | Festival | Woolgathering Records
  • Robin Verheyen | A look Beyond (CapVert Illuminations) | Challenge Records
  • Kris Davis |Lifespan| Fresh Sound New Talent Records
  • Tim Daisy’s Celebration Sextet | Halfway There | Relay Recordings
  • Tim Daisy | October Music Volume 2. 7 compositions for Duet | Relay Recordings
  • Jason Rigby |The Sage| Fresh Sound New Talent Records
  • Kelly Clarkson |My December| RCA Records
  • Ken Thomson | Settle |  NCM East Records
  • Ken Thomson | Slow/Fast | Intuition Records
  • Noah Preminger |Dry Bridge Road| Nowt Records
  • Deidre Rodman |The Sun Is Us| Sunnyside Records
  • Deidre Rodman |Simple Stories| Sunnyside Records
  • Michael Musillami Trio + 4 | Mettle | Playscape Recordings
  • Mick Rossi |One Block From Planet Earth| OmniTone Records
  • Jazz Passengers |Reunited| Justin Time Records
  • Quinsin Nachoff  |FoMo| Musictronic Productions
  • Nicolas Masson |Awake| Altrisuoni Records
  • Nicolas Masson |Yellow| Fresh Sound New Talent Records
  • Curtis Fowlkes |Catfish Corner| Knitting Factory Records
  • Roy Nathanson |Fire At Keatons Bar & Grill| Six Degrees Records
  • New Talent Jazz Orchestra |The Sound of New York Jazz Underground| Fresh Sound New Talent Records
  • Tom Varner |Heaven & Hell| OmniTone Records
  • Christof Knoche |Line Zero| OmniTone Records
  • Komeda Project |Crazy Girl| WM Records
  • Komeda Project |Requiem| WM Records
  • Co Streiff Sextet |Loops, Holes, and Angels| Intakt Records
  • Tommy Meier |Root Down| Intakt Records
  • Tommy Meier |The Master and the Rain| Intakt Records
  • Johannes Wallmann | The Town Musicians | Fresh Sound Records
  • Johannes Wallmann | Always Something | MWP Records
  • Silvia Bolognesi | Chicago Sessions | Fonterossa Records
  • Stirrup | A Man Can’t Ride On One | Whistler Records
  • Caroline Davis | Doors (Chicago Storylines | Ears & Eyes Records
  • Dan Wilensky | Back In The Mix | Speechless Productions
  • Eric Erhardt | A Better Fate | Tapestry Records
  • Sasha Matson | Cooperstown: A Jazz Opera In Nine Innings | Albany Records
  • Don Peretz |Foremen| Fresh Sound New Talent Records
  • Johnny Valentino |8 Shorts in Search of David Lynch| ToneScience Records
  • Andrew Green |Narrow Margin| Microphonic Records
  • Robert Sabin |Romero| Ranula Music

Featured Trumpet Performances with the following artists:

Jazz: Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steve Swallow, Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, David Liebman, Anthony Davis, Oliver Lake, Charles Earland, Joe Maneri, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mark Dresser, Myra Melford, Jenny Scheinman, Mark Ribot, Tony Malaby, Matt Wilson, Mark Helias, Marty Ehrlich, Wayne Horvitz, Mat Maneri, NY Composers Orchestra, Ken Vandermark


Classical: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Now Series with Myra Melford, Christian Marclay Festival (Whitney Museum), Spring String Quartet (Bruckner F Minor Mass Remix), James Tenney Retrospective (Whitney Museum), Merce Cunningham/John Cage “Oceans” (Lincoln Center), Kitchen House Blend (The Kitchen, NYC), MATA Festival, Tilt Brass Band (NYC) Merce Cunningham Final Performances  at The Armory


Commercial: Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello, Kelly Clarkson, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Michael Buble’



  • Featured soloist – “The Little Fockers”, Universal Pictures
  • Trumpet soloist – HBO Feature Film “Undefeated”
  • Trumpet soloist – “Low Down” Feature Film
  • Trumpet solo – Opening credits -“The Hottest State” (Japan 2008)
  • “Late Night With David Letterman” (Michael Buble)
  • Arte Network (France) (Lee Konitz)
  • Bet on Jazz (Live from the Knitting Factory)
  • Croation National Television (The Other Quartet)
  • Jingles
  • CBS Early Show (Main Theme)
  • Verizon
  • Tropicana
  • Good Morning America
  • Chrysler

Featured Trumpet Performances at the following Jazz Festivals: International (selected)

  • North Sea Jazz Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Umbria Jazz Festival – Perugia, Italy
  • Montreux Jazz Festival – Montreux, Switzerland
  • London Jazz Festival – London England
  • Sudtirol Jazz Festival – Bolzano, Italy
  • Jazz Lent Festival – Maribor, Slovenia
  • Nancy Jazz Festival – Nancy, France
  • Vaulx Festival – Lyon, France
  • Porto Jazz Festival – Porto, Portugal
  • Crossroads Festival – Massa Lombarda, Italy
  • Oslo Jazz Festival – Oslo, Norway
  • Unerhort Jazz Festival – Zurich, Switzerland
  • Cerkno Jazz Festival – Cerkno, Slovenia
  • Ljubljana Jazz Festival – Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Getxo Jazz Festival – Getxo, Spain
  • Roma Jazz Festival – Rome, Italy
  • Toronto Jazz Festival – Toronto, Canada
  • Vancouver Jazz Festival – Vancouver, Canada
  • Ottawa Jazz Festival – Ottawa, Canada
  • Banlieues Bleues Festival – Paris, France
  • Budapest Jazz Festival – Budapest, Hungary
  • Leuven Jazz Festival – Leuven, Belgium
  • NXNE Festival – Toronto, Canada
  • Bergamo Jazz Festival – Bergamo, Italy
  • Dialoghi Per Due Festival – Pavia, Italy
  • MA Festival – Bruges, Belgium
  • Saalfelden Jazz Festival – Saalfelden, Austria
  • Jazz A Liege Festival – Liege, Belgium

Featured Trumpet Performances at the following Jazz Festivals: USA (selected)

  • JVC Jazz Festival – Carnegie Hall NYC
  • Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival – NYC
  • FONT (Festival of New Trumpet Music) – NYC
  • Winter Jazz Fest – NYC
  • Earshot Jazz Festival – Seattle, Washington
  • Chicago Jazz Festival
  • Litchfield Jazz Festival – Litchfield, CT
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival – Chicago, IL
  • East Side Jazz Festival – Milwaukee, WI
  • SXSW – Austin, Texas
  • Umbrella Fest – Chicago, IL
  • Bay View Jazz Festival – Milwaukee, WI
  • Isthmus Jazz Festival – Madison, WI
  • Eric Dolphy Freedom of Sound Festival – Montclair, NJ
  • EdgeFest – Ann Arbor, MI
  • Chi Town Jazz Festival – Chicago, IL
  • Woody Herman Jazz Festival – Milwaukee, WI
  • OKKA FEST – Milwaukee, WI
  • Stevens Point Jazz Festival – Stevens Point, WI
  • Fox Valley Jazz Festival – Mensaha, WI

Featured Trumpet Performances at the following Jazz Clubs: International (selected)

  • AMR Geneva, Switzerland
  • Bimhuis – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Unterfahrt – München, Germany
  • Moods – Zurich, Switzerland
  • Chorus Lausanne, Switzerland
  • A-Trane – Berlin, Germany
  • B Flat – Berlin, Germany
  • Porgy & Bess – Vienna, Austria
  • Alexanderplatz – Rome, Italy
  • De Roma – Antwerp, Belgium
  • Jazz Club Singen – Singen, Germany
  • Jazz Studio – Nuremberg, Germany
  • Ubi Jazz – Santa Maria di Sala, Italy
  • Beat Niq – Calgary, Canada
  • Stockwerk Jazz – Graz, Austria
  • Alte Feuerwache –  Mannheim, Germany
  • La Palma Club – Rome, Italy
  • Sunset – Paris, France
  • Casa Del Jazz – Rome, Italy
  • Jazzkeller – Frankfurt, Germany
  • Blue Note – Milano, Italy
  • Bird’s Eye – Basel, Switzerland
  • Teatro Manzoni – Milan, Italy
  • Yardbird Suite – Edmonton, Canada
  • La Comete – Reims, France
  • La Vauban – Brest, France
  • Rote Fabrik – Zurich, Switzerland
  • Axes Jazz Power – Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Reigen – Vienna, Austria
  • Cellar Jazz Club – Vancouver, Canada
  • L’Archiduc – Brussels, Belgium
  • Hnita-Jazz Club – Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium
  • LOFT – Köln, Germany
  • Club Neuetonne – Dresden, Germany
  • The Rex – Toronto, Canada
  • Mullbau – Luzern, Switzerland
  • Mehrspur Jazz Club – Zurich, Switzerland

Featured Trumpet Performances at the following Jazz Clubs: USA (selected)

  • Blue Note – New York, NY
  • Jazz Standard – New York, NY
  • Smalls Jazz Club – New York, NY
  • Jazz Gallery – New York, NY
  • Knitting Factory – New York, NY
  • Iridium – New York, NY
  • 55 Bar – New York, NY
  • Tonic – New York, NY
  • CBGB’s – New York, NY
  • Bowery Poetry Club – New York, NY
  • Roulette – Brooklyn, NY
  • The Stone – New York, NY
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Brooklyn, NY
  • Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY
  • Joe’s Pub – New York, NY
  • Cornelia St. Café – New York, NY
  • Café Carlyle – New York, NY
  • Subculture – New York, NY
  • Somethin’ Jazz Club – New York, NY
  • Barbez – Brooklyn, NY
  • Shapeshifter Lab – Brooklyn, NY
  • Korzo – Brooklyn, NY
  • Seeds – Brooklyn, NY
  • Dazzle – Denver, CO
  • Scullers Jazz Club – Boston, MA
  • Lily Pad – Cambridge, MA
  • Twins Jazz – Washington D.C.
  • Firehouse 12 – New Haven, CT
  • Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY
  • Tula’s – Seattle, Washington
  • Cliff Bells – Detroit, MI
  • Merriman’s Playhouse – South Bend, IN
  • Ice House – Minneapolis, MN
  • The Fountain – Madison, WI
  • The Falcoln – Marlboro, NY
  • Jazz Showcase – Chicago, IL
  • Green Mill Jazz Club – Chicago, IL
  • Andy’s Jazz Club – Chicago, IL
  • Constellation – Chicago, IL
  • City Winery – Chicago, IL
  • Hideout – Chicago, IL
  • Elastic Gallery – Chicago, IL
  • Space – Evanston, IL
  • Experimental Sound Studio – Chicago, IL
  • Hungry Brain – Chicago, IL
  • Skylark – Chicago, IL
  • Room 43 – Chicago, IL
  • Whistler – Chicago, IL
  • The Owl – Chicago, IL
  • Fulton Street Collective – Chicago, IL
  • Jazz Estate – Milwaukee, WI
  • Blu (Top of the Pfister Hotel) – Milwaukee, WI
  • Jazz Gallery – Milwaukee, WI
  • Sugar Maple – Milwaukee, WI
  • Woodland Pattern Bookstore – Milwaukee, WI
  • Company Brewing – Milwaukee, WI
  • West End Conservatory of Music – Milwaukee, WI
  • Hotel Metro – Milwaukee, WI

Featured Trumpet Performances at other notable Venues

  • Madison Square Garden – Paramount Theater – New York, NY
  • Carnegie Hall – New York, NY
  • Rose Hall – Lincoln Center – New York, NY
  • Merkin Hall – New York, NY
  • Joyce Theater – New York, NY
  • The Kitchen – New York, NY
  • Brooklyn Museum – Brooklyn, NY
  • St. Ann’s Warehouse – Brooklyn, NY
  • Symphony Space – New York, NY
  • Whitney Museum of Art – New York, NY
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Chicago Cultural Center – Chicago, IL
  • Millennium Park – Pritzker Auditorium – Chicago, IL
  • Harris Theater – Pritzker Auditorium – Chicago, IL

Teaching History

Faculty Positions

  • University of Wisconsin Parkside – Director of Jazz Studies (Jan. 2010-present)
  • Queens College Prep Division (2002-2005)
  • Portuguese Jazz Workshop (2005)
  • Maine Jazz Camp (2001-2010)
  • Litchfield Jazz Camp (2008-present)
  • MYSO Jazz Studies Program – Milwaukee (2012-2014)
  • Temporary private trumpet instruction at DePaul University (2016)

University/Conservatory performances and/or masterclasses lecturing in Improvisation, theory, and ensemble techniques across the U.S. and Europe including:

  • West Chester University Trumpet Festival
  • Luzern Jazz School (Switzerland)
  • EJMA (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Hochschule (Hannover, Germany)
  • AMR (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Zurich Konservatorium Klassik und Jazz (Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Oberlin Conservatory
  • DePaul University
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
  • Victoria Island University
  • Lawrence University (Artist in Residence January 2007)
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Illinois Wesleyan
  • Western Michigan University
  • Loyola University
  • Shenandoah Conservatory of Music
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Idaho
  • Brigham Young University
  • Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Ripon College
  • University of Utah
  • Utah State University
  • Whitworth College
  • Whitman College
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Faculty Positions
  • University of Wisconsin Parkside – Director of Jazz Studies (Jan. 2010-present)
  • Queens College Prep Division (2002-2005)
  • Portuguese Jazz Workshop (2005)
  • Maine Jazz Camp (2001-2010)
  • Litchfield Jazz Camp (2008-present)
  • MYSO Jazz Studies Program – Milwaukee (2012-2014)
  • Temporary private trumpet instruction at DePaul University (2016)

Private Trumpet Instruction

  • New York City (1989 – 2011)
  • Milwaukee (2011 – present)

Course Development & Instruction at University of Wisconsin-Parkside

  • Music Appreciation (Classical)
  • Jazz Appreciation (with diversity designation)
  • Jazz History (with diversity designation)
  • Fundamentals of Improvisation
  • Jazz Improvisation I, II, and III
  • Jazz Styles (transcription/analysis)
  • Jazz Arranging
  • Large Jazz Ensemble
  • Jazz Combo
  • Independent Study

Press Quotes

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

– Down Beat Magazine

“brilliant East Coast trumpeter Russ Johnson”

– Down Beat Magazine

“…particularly Russ Johnson’s lyrical, deeply melodic trumpet lines—invariably lifts the music to another realm.”

-Down Beat Magazine

“…a trumpeter of keen sensitivities and questing spirit”

– Chicago Tribune

“Russ Johnson is simply amazing. His melodicism, energy and tone make him sound like the best new trumpet voice since Dave Douglas.” –

-Cadence Magazine

“…the dude can play some serious trumpet.”

-Chicago Reader

“Trumpeter Russ Johnson has been all over the progressive jazz map. He’s been an A-list performer for several years.”


“Johnson will be one of the next important cats on trumpet. His tremendous chops serve him very well, as does his clean articulation in every register. He is so relaxed and poised; when you hear him start some many-note phrase containing wide interval leaps, you don’t tense up wondering if he’ll play it cleanly.”

– Harvey Pekar, Jazziz Magazine

“trumpeter Russ Johnson is a leading light on the New York scene, an expressive and proficient artist of boundless creativity

– Allaboutjazz

“Russ Johnson is simply one of the best trumpeters around today”

“…it was the understated virtuosity of trumpeter Russ Johnson that ultimately lifted the music to the stratosphere.”

– The Globe & Mail (Canadian National Newspaper)

“Johnson is a player with crisp articulation and intriguing ideas.”

– JazzTimes Magazine

“Johnson has a fine range, good chops, a big, pretty tone, and is never at a loss for ideas.”

– Jazziz Magazine

“The effect of Johnson’s compositions was an almost instantaneous provocation of interest.”

-The Examiner

“Johnson, for me, was a revelation; he has a lush, open sound, and acres of technique and imagination. His fluid improvisations provide several spine-tingling moments.”


“… possesses an effortless ability to move with great fluidity…”

– Down Beat Magazine

“a steady fixture on the New York scene”

– New York Times

“Russ Johnson is a fresh torrent of inspiration”

– Allaboutjazz

“when Russ Johnson takes a solo it’s like exploratory surgery”

– Pulse!

“Russ Johnson confirms himself once again as one of the more interesting voices that is emerging within the turbulent universe of contemporary music that derives from jazz.”

– All About Jazz – Italy

“… melodic shreds appear to fascinate him, forcing him to engage in various excursions into restricted and delineated areas, where avant-garde and retro-garde or modernity and tradition don’t matter anymore. Where the only thing that matters is the heart…”

– All About Jazz-Italy

“Long one of the best postbop practitioners in New York.”

– Chicago Reader

Press For Meeting Point

“…on Johnson’s Meeting Point the emphasis is on virtuosic soloing and highly responsive interaction bounded by a framework of sturdy melodies, with a sense of time that morphs organically between pungent swing and tumultuous free flow.”

– Chicago Reader “Best Recordings of 2014”

“The exquisite balance between contrasting elements makes this an album to savor.”

-Down Beat Magazine

“But one of the album’s ample pleasures is the way they engage with Johnson’s personal compositional approach, which emphasizes bold and catchy melodies, without abandoning their commitment to playing in more abstract zones.“

-Down Beat Magazine

“Johnson and associates knock it out of the park on this fine outing.”


“The music and the group are top notch throughout, keeping you fixed to your seat. It really combines so many elements, but, it a coherent way.”

– Cardboard Music

“Johnson and Stein artfully navigate the entire range of their instruments with ease and sophistication”

– International Trumpet Guild

“…Not even 24 hours before, the Russ Johnson Quartet were navigating through some of the most beautiful melodies I heard all weekend. In addition to his organic and inventive compositions, Johnson’s trumpet playing was out of this world. In fact, some of the musicians I was hanging out with were having difficulty identifying exactly how he was accomplishing what he was doing.”

– review of Meeting Point at the Chicago Jazz Festival 2014

MEETING POINT “Best of 2014“ year end lists

  • Down Beat Magazine
  • Magnet Magazine
  • Chicago Reader
  • Acoustic Levitation
  • One Man’s Jazz
  • WMSE Radio
  • Music Corner
  • Kevernacular blog


“Each musician’s improvisations capture the essence of Dolphy’s opus, but in music located firmly in the here-and-now. And it’s that transparency, coupled to joyful expressiveness and Out To Lunch!’s open palette—indeed, the album’s requirement for playful improvisation—that makes Still Out To Lunch! such a treat.”

-Down Beat Magazine

“Still Out To Lunch! is a roaring success.”

– Down Beat Magazine

Russ Johnson: “Still Out to Lunch!” (Enja/Yellowbird). Trumpeter Johnson has spent years grappling with the music of Eric Dolphy’s admired album “Out to Lunch” and finally was able to document his experiments in this remarkable recording. In essence, Johnson and colleagues zero in on the lyric poetry and rhythmic volatility of this music, with inventive contributions from saxophonist Roy Nathanson, pianist Myra Melford, bassist Brad Jones and drummer George Schuller. Johnson and colleagues also augment the repertoire of the original recording, adding new dimensions to our understanding of it.

– Chicago Tribune  “Best Recordings of 2014”

“Johnson’s handsome sound and intense melodicism serve much the same purpose in today’s music. He can fly and flutter with the extended technique expected of modern players. But his stock in trade remains a buoyant, bracing lyricism, yields improvisations that light up new-music jams but would fit just as comfortably on a bebop date or in Lee Konitz’ Nonet.”


“Everything about this disc is excellent, from the sterling performances and arrangements to the great sound (production). A true jewel to be well savored.”

– Downtown Music Gallery

“Right from the opening blast of horns and stealthy walking bass, Russ Johnson transports listeners to modern jazz at its peak”

– Shepard Express Milwaukee

“A first class realization of a classic.”

– Midwest Record

“With no doubt everyone takes a big risk working with such well-known material but Johnson and band demonstrate huge respect to original here. It’s not a competition with Dolphy and not an ambition to make some things better, but more modernized presentation of genius work.”

– Jazz Music Archives

“they deliver bracing, inspired performances.”

– Chicago Reader

No cheap nostalgia here; Johnson’s quintet blaze their own circuitous trails through the skeletal framework of the five Dolphy tunes which comprised Out to Lunch.

-WWUH Radio “Best of 2014”

“An Immaculate Production”

– Jazz ‘N More Magazine (Switzerland)

Still Out to Lunch “best of 2014” year end lists

  • Down Beat Magazine (2015)
  • Chicago Tribune
  • NYC Jazz Record
  • WWUH Radio
  • WMSE Radio
  • Finalist for the Jahespreis in Jazz by Der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik


  • Best of 2012 Down Beat Magazine