"A credibly modern extension of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach hard bop aesthetic: delightful tunes, cleanly played ensembles, crisp rhythm-section work, and consistent solos." -Kirk Silsbee, Los Angeles CityBeat
The CJSQuintet evolved from the musical alliance and comradeship between saxophonist Chuck Johnson and trumpeter James Smith. CJSQ is roll up your sleeves, in your face, soul-lifting, hard bop blowing at its best. CJSQ has synthesized the jazz tradition with their unique experiences to create their distinctive voice: a cohesive and unyielding musical approach that spins heartfelt tales with passion. CJSQ has built a long list of impressive credits and has garnered numerous awards for their work, most recent, the first-ever Chuck Niles Jazz Music Award.
CJSQ comes together to give listeners their joy in performing classic jazz and bebop, always striving to uplift the human spirit with beauty, truth and simplicity in the songs.
Chuck Johnson - (Saxophones, co-leader) - Johnson was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and relocated to Los Angeles in 1984. Though reluctantly accepted as a saxophone student at the University of Evansville, he has gone on to perform with such artists as the Temptations, the Four Tops, Billy Higgins, Francisco Aguabella, Roy McCurdy, Bloodstone and Buddy Collette.
James Smith - (Trumpet, co-leader) - Smith is a native of Houston, Texas where he gained a wealth of experience playing with R&B and blues units. He has performed and or toured with such artists as the Mercer Ellington Orchestra, B.B. King, Teddy Edwards, Ray Charles, the Temptations, Barbara Morrison and Ernie Andrews.
Koji Ono - (Piano) - Ono is a native of Osaka, Japan and holds a M.F.A. in Jazz Studies from the California Institute of the Arts. He has performed with such artists as Joe Henderson, Walt Fowler, Bobby Shew, Clarence Johnston, Carl Allen and Clay Jenkins.
Curtis Robertson, Jr. (Acoustic Bass) - Robertson grew up in Chicago and is a multi-faceted bassist, guitarist, producer, writer and teacher. He has performed, toured and/or recorded with Lou Rawls, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Syreeta, Gary Bartz, Robben Ford, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Maxine Weldon.
Keita Akutsu - (Drums) - Akutsu is a native of Yokohama, Japan and holds a BFA in music from the California Institute of the Arts. He is a member of the faculty at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood where he began his studies in 1995. He has performed with Nedra Wheeler, Larry Koonse, Nate Morgan and Darek Oles among others.