Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators


Phillip Johnston: soprano, alto saxophones
Alister Spence: organ
Lloyd Swanton: bass
Nic Cecire: drums



Phillip Johnston has led Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators since moving to Australia in 2005. After a 2-year lay-off (while focussing on the Greasy Chicken Orchestra, New York’s Microscopic Septet, ‘Page of Madness: Suite from Improvisers’ and touring Wordless!), beginning in 2018, he will be focussing on the group as his main performing vehicle.

The band brings together two of Australia’s most internationally acclaimed touring musicians, Alister Spence (Alister Spence Trio, Clarion Fracture Zone, AAO) and Lloyd Swanton (The Necks, the catholics) with one of Sydney’s most in-demand rhythm section players, Nic Cecire. The music covers a range of styles but avant organ jazz is at the centre of it.

Diggin’ Bones, the first CD by Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators features a unique sound which combines funky organ combo jazz with modernist jazz composition. Produced by The Necks’ Lloyd Swanton and featuring some of Australia finest jazz/multi-genre improvisers, this recording shows a new side of Johnston’s music, and recording history which began in 1983 with Take The Z Train by The Microscopic Septet.

“….consumate musical artists, they present a unique style of jazz performance that is relaxed, smooth, and eloquent with phrasing that bursts forth intricate improvisations in jazz and swing with a splattering of funk that is all class – for the uninitiated and jazz aficionados alike a delight to imbibe.”–Peter McGill, SoundPet

It is jazz played with some true wit… freely drawing on all styles of music to create quirky, cartoonish pieces, coloured with chirpy melodies and unexpected moments of poignancy.
–John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald