Jeff Johnston, - pianist, composer, producer and educator - has been active on the Canadian jazz scene for over fifteen years and is considered one of this country's finest jazz musicians. He has performed and recorded with many of the world's best, including Kenny Wheeler, Dave Liebman, Archie Shepp, John Abercrombie, Don Alias, Shirley Eikhard, Sonny Greenwich and Slide Hampton. His music has been described by critics as ?outstanding in every way?, ?Canadian jazz at it's best?, ?unparalleled for risk or drama?, and in 1998 Jazz Times Magazine proclaimed ?this is music that while at the contemporary cutting edge is also immensely and immediately satisfying?.
He has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe including the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy and as a regular at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. In the year 2000, his trio cd THE FIELD was nominated for a Juno award. Born in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1961, Johnston grew up in a musical family. After studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts (with Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Liebman, Anthony Braxton) and Toronto (with Don Thompson and Ted Moses), he went on to learn from renowned pianist and composer Richard Beirach in New York City. With Beirach, Johnston learned how to combine contemporary classical harmonies to the jazz tradition. His collaboration with bassist Jim Vivian goes back more than 20 years when they met in high school. Soon after drummer Mike Billard joined ranks and the three musicians began performing around their hometown, St. John's.
In 1983, the three Newfoundlanders collectively transplanted themselves to Toronto and were immediately recognized for their unique approach to group improvisation. In 2001, Vivian and Billard remain the core element of Johnston's music. Few groups boast such cohesiveness as these three musicians. They have created a sound all their own wherein the quality of the interaction is immediately striking. Their unique ?chamber music? approach has been applauded for it's understatement, lyricism and sense of freedom. Jeff Johnston is also known in the film world, having composed and produced many scores for productions by the CBC, NFB and various independent productions. Since 1992, he has been an instructor of jazz piano at McGill University. Johnston currently resides in Montreal.