UA-35670761-1 Josh Johnson- Freedom Exercise |
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Best Of 2020
Hank Shteamer- Rolling Stone
Best of 2020

Produced by Paul Bryan and Josh Johnson
Mixed by Paul Bryan

The jazz scene has always had an element that was open to incorporating contemporary music into their work, that a characteristic defines the modern scene. Not only is the diversity of influences larger than at any other time in the music’s history, there’s a greater eagerness amongst contemporary jazz musicians to incorporate a vast array of those influences into a single project. On his debut album, Josh Johnson practically consumes other music whole. The multi-instrumentalist shapes his songs with the building blocks of modern jazz, electronic music, and post-rock, which makes for a pretty heady synthesis; but the significance of Freedom Exercise is how effortlessly they all flow in unison. Johnson is treating them not as individual bullet points on a list of ingredients, but rather as a cohesive, expressive whole—a genre created on the fly. It’s as symbolic of the modern jazz scene as anything, but rarely is it executed so flawlessly. -Band Camp Daily Best Of 2020

Josh Johnson’s debut as a leader is unrestricted by what came before, pushing itself into multiple different avenues. In the process, the album delightfully obfuscates divisions. It is near impossible to discern live band from studio mastery and the pre-composed from the improvised. It is a songwriting marvel. 

A sense of economy is clear on this lean set of tracks that never come off as overwrought, just always full of wonder. -Downbeat