NEW ALBUM Keith Waters - Scott Sawyer "Night Songs" was released 12/1/2023
close ×

Randy Johnston-Scott Sawyer Quartet @ Sharp Nine Gallery

Randy Johnston-Scott Sawyer Quartet

May 4, 2019 Durham, NC


Time : 8pm
Venue : Sharp Nine Gallery
Address : 4608 Industry Lane
State : NC
Zip : 27713
Phone : 919-486-JAZZ (5299)
Contact Email :
Contact Website :

*Randy Johnston will give a 90min. guitar masterclass from 3-4:30pm on Saturday, May 4 open to all. $20

Randy Johnston & Scott Sawyer – guitars
Ron Brendle – bass
Dan Davis – drums

Randy Johnston is one of the most widely recorded and prolific guitarists of his generation. He has released 12 albums as a leader for the Muse, Highnote, J Curve, Mel Bay, and Random Act labels and has appeared on dozens of recordings with other top recording artists.

In addition to his recording career, Randy has toured and played with some of the most acclaimed names in jazz, including Lionel Hampton, Houston Person and Etta Jones, Lonnie Smith, and has played for 17 years as a regular member of the Lou Donaldson Quartet. He has traveled the world concertizing, both as a bandleader and side musician, performing at the top clubs and festivals all over the United States, Europe, Japan, Thailand, and South America.

Already recognized the world over for his guitaristic prowess, Randy’s live performances and last two recordings feature him as a vocalist as well, singing his original songs as well as standards and blues standards. His vocals have been favorably compared to those of Ray Charles, and the combination of instrumental and vocal performances make for an extremely varied and entertaining live set. Both his vocal and substantial catalogue of instrumental compositions enjoy frequent airplay, both in the traditional and internet radio formats.

Randy has also taught music at New York University, the Hartt School of Music in Hartford Connecticut, the University of Miami in Coral Gables Florida, and several other major American universities of note, in addition to conducting master classes in such diverse locations as Wales UK and Helsinki Finland.


Scott Sawyer displays his musical diversity like a badge of honor, re-visiting his blues & rock roots while continuing to explore the jazz tradition & beyond… – (Philip Van Vleck)

He’s performed at major festivals, concert halls, and beer-soaked dives here and abroad (Asia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East) including Monterey Jazz Festival (CA), Herbst Jazz Festival (Austria), St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz, 2002 Silde Jazz (Norway); Ottawa Jazz Festival; Detroit Jazz Festival, Berlin Chamber Music Hall (Germany);  the Blue Note (NYC); Joe’s Pub (NYC); Catalina Jazz Club (LA), to name a few.

Born in Chicago, Sawyer was introduced to jazz and other music at an early age via his father’s record collection, which included recordings by John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Lou Rawls, and Nancy Wilson. But in the beginning, it was the music of Jimi Hendrix and other rock and blues musicians (including Mike Bloomfield, Son Seals, Buddy Guy, Paul Butterfield, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson) that inspired Scott to seriously pursue music. By the time he landed in Greensboro, NC as a junior in high school, Scott had lived in Texas, Maine, and Chicago-land. Already immersed in the Chicago blues, he was exposed to Southern roots music and blues; eventually “fusion” and then “jazz” became a priority. Guitarist Jim Hall got his attention and sparked a deeper interest in jazz guitar. He landed a regular gig in Greensboro at “Sammy’s” with vibraphonist Jon Metzger and bassist Charles Dungey, that lasted a couple of years. In October 1982, he traveled to NYC for lessons with guitarist John Scofield. A few years later, he traveled to Boston for lessons with guitarist Mick Goodrick.

Sawyer’s latest album “Dreamers” was released in November 2013. His previous album “Go There” (2007) featured Kofi and Oteil Burbridge and charted on XM Radio. Numerous recording credits include Stephen Anderson – 360° Jazz Initiative “Distracted Society” (2015); Keith Water’s “Carolina Tracks” (2012; guitar and Associate Producer); Bruce Piephoff’s “Soft Soap Purrings” (2014; Co-Producer, electric/acoustic gtr) and “Still Looking Up at the Stars” (2012, Co-Producer, electric/acoustic gtr); Dave Fox’s “The Meldavians-Farewell to Arigemon” (2012); Nnenna Freelon’s “Homefree” (2010) plus her 1997 Grammy-Nominated “Shaking Free”, “Live” (Kennedy Center; 2003) and “Listen” (1993) albums; Lois Deloatch’s “Roots: Jazz, Blues Spirituals” (2010; guitar and Co-Producer); and Bill Anschell’s “a different note all together” (1998). He arranged & recorded “The Glory Of Love” w/ actor Danny Aiello; as featured in the Cinecom film “Once Around”.

Through the years, Sawyer has performed, toured and recorded with jazz singer Nnenna Freelon (including 1992 Philip Morris Superband World Tour), and has performed and/or recorded with countless other artists of note in a variety of genres: John Abercrombie, Charlie Byrd, David Murray, Oteil Burbridge, (prima ballerina) Marie-Christine Mouis, Kate McGarry, Tony Williamson, Bob Cranshaw, Dave Finucane, Melissa Reaves, Bill Anschell, and Kofi Burbridge, to name a few. Other tours include Central America as a member of the Jon Metzger Quartet (USIA Arts America Program; 1985).

Scott is a Group and Individual Instructor at the Durham Jazz Workshop, works with a limited number of students at his home in Raleigh, NC and is an adjunct instructor at East Carolina University (Greenville, NC; Jazz Guitar, Jazz Improvisation) and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill; jazz guitar).

He performs frequently, leading his own groups and freelancing jazz, and with Bruce Piephoff.