Evan Francis / Darren Johnston Quartet

Photo by Todd Brown

The Evan Francis / Darren Johnston Quartet plays original music composed by the two leaders, extending the jazz tradition in a way that brilliantly combines Dionysian rhythms and Apollonian harmonic and melodic elements.

Woodwind artist Evan Francis was born and raised in Venice, Ca. He lived and played in the LA area until he was 23, graduating from the USC/Thornton School of music on a full music scholarship. During that time he played and/or recorded with the likes of Billy Higgins, Dr. Art Davis, John Clayton, Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble (including an appearance on the Tonight Show), Sheila E., Christina Aguilera, Mike Keneally and the Industrial Jazz Group.

In 2003 he moved to San Francisco and has since played and recorded with artists like Grammy nominee Taylor Eigsti, Marcus Shelby, Ben Goldberg, Dayna Stevens, Realistic Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Mafia, The Shotgun Wedding Hip-Hop Symphony and legendary Jamaican artists Mikey Dread and Prince Buster, as well as the jazz/hip-hop group "Spaceheater".

Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter Darren Johnston has built a web of alliances, from avant-guard excursions with the likes of the ROVA saxophone quartet, the Splatter Trio, and Ben Goldberg, to straight-ahead jazz outings with the likes of bassist Marcus Shelby.

As a band-leader he is best known for his work with his "United Brassworkers Front," whose second CD, “In Between Stories”, was recently released on Evander Music. Another new release in '07, "Reasons for Moving," featured Fred Frith and Larry Ochs, and was released on the Not Two label.

Darren was mentioned in last June’s issue of Down Beat as one of “25 trumpeters for the future.”


Bassist Eugene Warren is the son of an acoustic and electric bass player who encouraged his children to study and explore music at an early age.

He studied with classical bassists Shinji Eshima and Pat Klobas. His jazz bass teachers included the great Eugene Wright, Jeff Chambers, Marcus Shelby, and Michael Zisman.

He has played with many Bay Area musicians including Lavay Smith, Faye Carrol, Babatunde Lea, Pete Yellin, Eddie Marshall, Mitch Marcus, Akira Tana, Eddie Duran, Vince Wallace, Richard Howell, Tammy Hall, Matt Clark and Calvin Keys. He also has played with Stefon Harris, Randy Porter, Dena DeRose, Sasha Dobson, and Joe Bagg. He performs regularly with the Andrew Speight Quartet and the Vince Lateano Trio.

Drummer Smith Dobson V has been performing in the Bay Area and internationally for close to 20 years. He’s had the honor of working with acclaimed jazz artists Bobby Hutcherson, Harold Land, Red Rodney, John Handy, Sheila Jordan, Red Holloway, Pete and Conte Condoli, Ben Goldberg, and Graham Connah.

Smith is also active as a composer, vibraphonist and band leader, whose ensembles include such musicians as Devin Hoff on bass, Vijay Anderson on drums, and John Finkbeiner on guitar.