Los Angeles-based musician Josh Johnson has shared “Nerf Day,” the opening track of his upcoming album Freedom Exercise.
Johnson’s percussive new cut burgeons with syncopated rhythm and laid-back brass instrumentation. “Nerf Day” joins previous singles “856” and “Western Ave” as first tastes of the multi-instrumentalist’s debut solo LP.
“A lot of people I’ve connected with here have opened me up to a lot of things I hadn’t imagined,” the Chicago native shared in a statement of his adopted Californian home. “It brings in a lot of people who don’t go to jazz clubs. It’s a thing that’s been very stimulating for me because it doesn’t feel insular. It’s helped me be a better listener in improvised settings. Not just playing to play, but really thinking about why, and what something is for.”
Listeners might know Johnson from his collaborations with Makaya McCraven, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Jeff Parker, as well as his role as the musical director for Leon Bridges since 2018.
Freedom Exercise will drop on October 9 via Northern Sky Records. Listen to “Nerf Day” below: