ALEX JOHNSON

      Musician. Drummer. Composer

Alex has always known that he would be a musician. He grew up in a family that deeply loved and appreciated all forms of music, and although his family was not “musical” he was exposed to and participated in live music and art since he was a child. His grade school essay answer to “what do I want to be when I grow up" was “I WILL be a Composer”!  From a young age, Alex admired the musicians behind the scenes. Studio musicians were always the most intriguing to him because of their natural ability to camouflage into their musical landscapes in order to make the music the focus and pinnacle of the listeners’ experience.

Starting at the age of five in his hometown, Kelowna, British Columbia, Alex played piano, adding guitar and drums to his repertoire in his teens. He naturally gravitated to drums and percussion, playing in and leading various local and school bands in a wide variety of genres – jazz, rock, independent, folk, country, gospel, worship. He was awarded the first ever Music Award made specifically by his high school to honour his work ethic, effort and leadership skills toward other younger musicians. He obtained his certification in Audio Engineering and Music Production from Okanagan College, further enabling him to direct and manage his own music.

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival January 2017 (photo credit: Enzo Jones)

In 2018, Alex moved to Montreal, the jazz epicenter of Canada, to pursue his undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies at Concordia University. His time at Concordia was very eventful and productive. He was privileged to study under and be mentored by Concordia’s esteemed and accomplished Jazz faculty, including Jim Doxas, Joshua Rager, Charles Ellison, Adrian Vedady, Robin Chemtov and Gary Schwartz.

Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill Concordia Student Jam

Live at Resonance 03/08/20 Live Recording (photo credit: Bryan Li)

 In his second year Alex was the student host of the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill Student Jam. Although the Covid Pandemic shut down school and performing in public venues, Alex took this opportunity to release his debut album of original compositions “Live at Resonance 03/08/20”, hone his rudiments skills  and participate in online ventures. When Concordia returned to in-person education, Alex was awarded the Robert Daniel Ball Memorial Scholarship and selected for the 64th cohort of the Concordia Garnet Key Society. As the 2021/2022 Vice-President, he had the honour of representing Concordia’s Office of the President and student body at public events and social causes. Alex graduated with Distinction in 2022.

Beyond school, Alex has thrown himself into the Jazz culture of Montreal. He has been a part of a wide array of musical projects and played professionally in Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Blues, Country & Western, Surf, Klezmer and Avant-Garde. He has played professionally with both international and local Montreal based luminaries, such as Sam Kirmayer, Mike Bruzesse, Leighton Harrell, Frasier Hollins, Victoria Malenfant, Baron Tymas, Greg Amirault, Mathieu Soucy, and Alex LeBlanc, among others.

Alex is currently a working musician in Montreal and can be found doing sessions with local heavy-weight musicians, constantly learning and expanding his skills and repertoire. Alex was invited to continue hosting the Concordia Student Jam sessions at the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, mentoring upcoming students and players in a working environment. He also volunteers weekly at The Societe Jazz de Saint-Henri as he strongly believes in their mission statement of believing that jazz can build bridges between musicians, unite a neighbourhood and serve as a link between the past and the present.