John Russell is a leading figure in the UK free improvisation scene where he made his debut performing in London in 1972. Amongst other things has been the driving force behind concert organisers Mopomoso and is, with Dublin based Paul G Smyth, co-partner of the Weekertoft label. Since 1981 he has drawn on his contacts to create a large pool of players under the title ‘Quaqua’ that comes together for specific events including an annual Fête Quaqua. Other groups include Evan Parker, John Edwards, Henry Lowther, Satoko Fukuda, Maggie Nicols , Mia Zabelka, JiJi Duerinckx, Sabu Toyozumi, Matthieu Safatly, Günter Christmann, Alice Eldridge, Steve Beresford, Dominic Lash, John Butcher, Pascal Marzan, Phil Minton and Ståle Liavik Solberg amongst others. As well as performing with many leading improvisers around the world he also teaches and runs workshops in guitar and free improvisation. He is currently working on a new project called ‘Narrative’.
“…for Russell the fingerboard is apparently multiple. He finds new tones in the same place, new relationships in the same gesture. A second trip across the fingerboard is always a different excursion. The harmonic is a transparent sound: silence and ambient sound pass through it. It accounts for Russell’s unhurried pace and his sense of order, even when he’s playing fast: there’s simply so much going on…” – Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure