Down River is a project which combines sounds of world folk music with American jazz and elements of avant-garde. Influences include the music of Ravi Shankar, John Cage, and Ornette Coleman. Members Mike Johnston (bass, wood flutes, percussion) and Mike Gilmore (guitars, zheng, bouzouki, percussion) founded the well-known Northwoods Improvisers in 1976 and have released 16 recordings, including 9 with the influential Detroit saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey. Mike Johnston has hosted the popular “Destination Out” program on WCMU FM since 1988. Drummer and percussionist Greg Vadnais fills out the trio. Greg’s early introduction to the drum set, combined with a love for history and geography, lead him to an interest in the music of the world, specifically focusing on the African Diaspora. Greg has studied West African drumming of Guinea, Mali, and Senegal, as well as the rhythmic traditions of India, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.
Mike Gilmore - acoustic guitars, bouzouki, guzheng, hand drums
Mike Johnston - acoustic bass, wood flutes, percussion