Town Hall hosts “miraculous” jazz musician

Lucien Johnson’s music has been informed by his travels around the globe.

Warkworth’s concert season traditionally features some jazz, and this year Warkworth Music is excited to host the Lucien Johnson Quartet.

The quartet will perform original compositions from Lucien’s 2017 album, West of the Sun, along with new material from his upcoming album, Kairangi.

Lucien Johnson has been described as “a saxophonist and composer of rare excellence and mettle” (Wellington Jazz Festival), as “a miraculous musician” (Radio NZ) and as “a composer and arranger of supreme skill” (Dominion Post).

Originally from Wellington, Lucien’s music has been greatly informed by his global travels. Living in Paris for most of his twenties, he performed with jazz legends such as Alan Silva, John Betsch and Steve Potts.

Lucien wrote music for theatre ensembles which toured Europe and India, and collaborated with voodoo drummers in Haiti. He later toured the world with iconic New Zealand bands such as the Black Seeds and Lord Echo, at the same time as completing his doctoral research into modern Ethiopian music, which he performed with Mulatu Astatke at his club in Addis Ababa.

As a composer, Lucien has created several albums and written for the NZSO. His piano pieces “Addis Nocturnes” were premiered in Paris for a celebration of the music of Ravel. He has composed extensively for dance companies, including the New Zealand Dance Company, Footnote NZ Dance and Borderline Arts Ensemble.

As the latest recipient of the Arts Foundation Harriet Friedlander Residency, Lucien has spent the past year in New York soaking up the performing arts world of the Big Apple and rubbing shoulders with musical giants. He is looking forward to sharing how this experience has influenced his music.

For the quartet, Lucien is joined by celebrated pianist Jonathan Crayford, double bassist Tom Callwood and drummer Cory Champion.

The concert takes place at the Warkworth Town Hall on Saturday, August  19 at 7pm. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at and at the door. School students free.

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