“Joint Attention” CD Release–Rex Hotel, Wednesday April 4, 9:30 pm

This Wednesday, April 4, the John Russon Quintet will be releasing our new CD!

The CD is called “Joint Attention,” and it features 9 original tunes that the band has been performing for the past few years.  The band is

Tom Richards: trombone

Chris Gale: saxophone

John Russon: guitar

Mike Milligan: bass

Nick Fraser: drums

The release will be at the Rex Hotel, at 9:30 pm.

There will be an $8 cover charge.  CDs will be $15 (or $10, if you can’t afford $15).

The Rex Hotel is at 194 Queen St. West in Toronto.

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John Russon Quintet at Holy Oak March 20

We’ll be playing all original tunes at Holy Oak next Tuesday, March 20, from 9:30 ’til about 12:30.  The band will be

Tom Richards on trombone

Chris Gale on saxophone

John Russon on guitar

Mike Milligan on bass


Fabio Ragnelli on drums.

This is a Pay-What-You-Can event: all donations are welcome and helpful.

Our next show will be the official release of our CD “Joint Attention” at the Rex Hotel, April 4, 9:30 pm.


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Quartet at Emmet Ray, March 5

We’ll be playing at the Emmet Ray, on College just east of Dovercourt, at 9 on Monday March 5.  The band will be:

Chris Gale–saxophone

John Russon–guitar

Mike Milligan–bass

Ethan Ardelli–drums

We’ll play original tunes form our soon-to-be-released CD “Joint Attention,” we play some standards, we’ll do some free improvising.

Please join us!

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February 08–Tranzac

This Wednesday, February 8, the John Russon Quintet will perform at the Tranzac Club.

We’ll play from 10 pm until midnight.

The band is:

Chris Gale, saxophone

John Russon, guitar

Mike Milligan, bass

Nick Fraser, drums

We’ll play tunes from our freshly mastered CD, and a few new ones.

The Tranzac Club is at 292 Brunswick Avenue in Toronto.  PWYC

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January Shows

January 28: Pamenar Cafe

David French, John Russon, Mike Milligan, Nick Fraser

January 24: Holy Oak Cafe–Welcome Back Chris Gale!

Chris Gale, John Russon, Chris Banks, Morgan Childs

January 23: The Central

Rebecca Hennessy, John Russon, Michael Herring, Blake Howard

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John Russon Quintet at the Emmet Ray

This Sunday, January 15, a night of jazz music at the Emmet Ray


Tom Richards on trombone

Shawn Nykwist on saxophone

John Russon on guitar

Chris Banks on bass

Ethan Ardelli on drums

We’ll play some original tunes and some standard jazz tunes.

There is no cover charge, but please pay what you can.

The Emmet Ray is at 924 College Street in Toronto.

The music starts at 9:30 pm

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December 11, Gate 403, 5-8 pm, John Russon Quartet

On Sunday December 11, from 5 until 8, the John Russon Quartet will play jazz standards and original tunes at Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto.  Please come out and enjoy some music.

Shawn Nykwist–saxophone.

John Russon–guitar.

Chris Banks–bass.

Sly Juhas–drums.

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Quartet at Holy Oak–Sunday October 16

This Sunday, October 16, at 9 pm, come out for some live jazz music at Holy Oak Cafe.

Michael Davidson (vibes), John Russon (guitar), Chris Banks (bass), and Dan Gaucher (drums) will play original and standard jazz tunes.  It’s a cozy club, and a great spot for music.  Please come out with your friends!

Holy Oak Cafe, 1241 Bloor Street West, Toronto.  9 pm to midnight.  Pay what you can.

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September Quartet Shows

Sept 15, 9:30 pm: Holy Oak Cafe.


John Russon, (guitar)

Tom Richards, (trombone)

Chris Banks, (bass)

Nick Fraser, (drums)




Sept 20, 10 pm: Tranzac Club.

Tom Richards, (trombone)

John Russon, (guitar)

Mike Milligan, (bass)

Ethan Ardelli, (drums)


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John Russon Quartet at Gate 403–Tuesday August 30, 5-8 pm.

The quartet will be John Russon on guitar, Tom Richards on trombone, Mike Milligan on bass, and Nick Fraser on drums.   We’ll be playing many of the original tunes we recently recorded, as well as some jazz standards.  We’re playing the dinnertime show–5-8 pm.  Gate 403 is at 403 Roncesvalles (just south of Howard Park) in Toronto

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The Toronto Seminar

I am deeply committed to the idea that philosophy is a cooperative activity and an inherently fulfilling one. For this reason, I encourage activities of philosophical study in which, through conversation, a community develops in which each participant experiences her or his thinking to be elevated beyond the level she or he could achieve alone, and in which study and social life are closely interwoven.

Since 2003, I have run an annual summer seminar in philosophy. Each year, roughly 25 invited participants-primarily faculty members and Ph.D. students from universities across North America-gather for roughly one week of intense, group study of a major text from the history of philosophy. Participants meet twice daily for sessions of highly focused discussion of the text and the issues it raises. When not studying in preparation for the meetings, seminar participants also socialize together, generally taking advantage of Toronto's outstanding, multicultural dining opportunities, and taking part in Toronto's vibrant and varied live music scene. Participants in these seminars consistently have the experience of growth in their conversation and conceptual abilities, and typically leave with a transformed sense of the nature and possibilities of philosophy.

Throughout the year, I also often lead smaller private seminars, specially oriented to graduate students, on various texts and topics in the history of philosophy.

Music, along with the other creative arts, is one of the most profound ways in which people express and define the distinctive character of human life. Composing, performing, and listening to music are some of the most fulfilling of our experiences. Listening offers us the opportunity for the sensuous pleasure of listening and moving (in dance), for emotional self-expression, and for bonding with others in shared enthusiasm. Performing brings with it the demands and rewards of communication and cooperation-with band-members and with audience-and supports the development and deployment of highly-refined bodily and expressive skills. Composing can be a powerful intellectual and cultural practice, offering one a route into participating in the rich historical and multicultural traditions of musical expression. Engaging with music, like engaging with philosophy, touches us in every dimension-bodily, emotional, intellectual, interpersonal, cultural, spiritual-of our experience.

My own personal path into music has involved me in the study of jazz music in particular, and since 2005 I have performed regularly in Toronto as a guitarist with my own band, the John Russon Quartet. The band (with the outstanding musicians Nick Fraser, Mike Milligan, and Chris Gale on drums, bass, and saxophone respectively, and, on special occasions, with Tom Richards joining us on trombone) performs my original compositions, as well as interpreting the standard tunes of the jazz repertoire and experimenting with free improvisation. We have just (August 2011) gone into the studio to record our first CD, and it should be available in a few months. It has also been, and continues to be, a major project of mine to develop a community of jazz enthusiasts who will carry on the tradition of appreciating live musical performance in general and jazz music in particular in this age in which recording, downloading, and dj-ing have come to define "music" for most people.

I think of both philosophy and music as communal practices first and foremost, and I regularly try to design community activities involving either or both. Currently, I am organizing one series in downtown Toronto.

"Story and Song Night" is a once-a-month event in which a speaker narrates one of the great stories from the world's religious traditions. Stories are among the oldest and most basic of our ways of telling ourselves and each other who we are as people, and the ancient stories that have been handed down for generations remain powerful and provocative resources for thinking about ourselves and our lives. On the fourth Tuesday of each month, a speaker narrates a story she or he has found personally meaningful, and this is followed first by group discussion and then by a set of live music performed by some of the best of Toronto's musicians. The event is hosted by Naco Gallery Cafe (1665 Dundas St. W.).