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Studies In Lockdown

by Johnny Hunter Quartet

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Study 1 05:47
Study 2 05:57
Study 3 06:08


Improvisation and dialogue between musicians are central to drummer/composer Johnny Hunter’s work – concepts which obviously present some logistical challenges during this period of lockdown and isolation. Unable to play together in the usual manner, Johnny set about exploring how his quartet could adapt to this new situation; not to attempt to approximate a ‘normal’ live performance but to find ways to record remotely and separately whilst keeping collective improvisation and spontaneity at the core of the music. The result of this experimentation is an innovative new EP, simply entitled Studies In Lockdown – a collection of three pieces that acknowledge the problems and limitations of distanced, non-realtime collaboration and reframe them not as difficulties or obstacles but as creative opportunities and inspirations.

“I was keen to use this situation as a reason to find new approaches to writing and playing, and not just try to find ways to approximate our usual music. Recording separately and layering up each musician’s parts to a click or guide track is very common and works well for other forms of music; however, in jazz and improvised music, I feel that this approach sacrifices the group interaction and combined groove. Layering up each musician’s contribution was the only available option in the current circumstances though, so I devised these three studies to explore different methods for groups of musicians to create music remotely whilst retaining the chance and spontaneity that (for me) is so key to improvised music” Johnny Hunter, May 2020

Study 1 uses short melodies and rhythmic fragments to initiate and influence the improvising, and timestamps to indicate how to pace the music and when to move on. The two horns recorded their parts separately without being able to hear the other, but maintain a unity between each part and create interesting textures and ‘interactions’ through these guided improv techniques.

Study 2 deals with the concept of latency, the often problematic delay that we have all experienced while trying to speak to one another over the internet. Finally, Study 3 explores what would happen if the musicians were to record their parts in isolation, without hearing each other at all – an echo of the current situation in which ‘real-world’ interactions are severely restricted.


released May 22, 2020

Mark Hanslip : tenor saxophone
Graham South : trumpet
Seth Bennett : bass
Johnny Hunter : drums

All tracks composed by Johnny Hunter

Recorded by the musicians in their homes, May 2020

Mixed and mastered by Hervé Perez


all rights reserved



Johnny Hunter Quartet Manchester, UK

Drummer/composer Johnny Hunter formed his quartet in 2010 to explores the possibilities and challenges afforded by the absence of a harmony instrument. Compositions draw on the piano-less groups of Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson through to those of John Zorn and Chris Speed, while leaning towards the freer, more exploratory approach of Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill and Joe Harriott. ... more

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