06.09.19Summer Gigs!

Hello, friends, colleagues, acquaintances- summer is upon us, which of course means some pretty cool summer concerts are coming up.

My new rock/r&b band, 6th Street Revue, has two special events announced so far, full details at the links!

THIS WEEK: Thursday, 6/13 @ Wild Terra Cider
Vintage Clothes Market, featuring local music, 3-10.

JULY 26th: Colonel Hankinson Historic Barn
Dinner, Drinks, and Music! $15 advance, $20 at door

Plenty of gigs also happening at my usual FM haunts, check the upcoming gigs page for a full list! More to be announced.


02.03.19'allweather' is out!

Greetings from another brutal Nodak winter- hope everyone is staying warm and safe out there.

'allweather', my second album of jazz music, and first with a "working" band, is now available via bandcamp. I'm pleased with the album as a finished work, and very proud of the band and the growth we've experienced as a unit. Was lucky to have a lot of great folks help with the production of the record, including my friends Pete James Johnson, Samuel Thomas Claeys, Ryan Cofer, the Arts Partnership of Fargo-Moorhead, and my father, Spider Johnk, whose sleeve design brought the whole package together.

The band and I will be playing tomorrow, February 4th, at Dempsey's in Fargo. Locals know the drill- no cover, affordable food and beverage, great staff and hang. 7-9. Copies of the disc will be available at this and other shows, as well as at Orange Records downtown.

More live dates will be added to the calendar soon, keep an eye on this page. Thank you to everyone for listening, and for being invested in the music, wherever you're at.



I'm pleased to announce that the first album by the Max Johnk Quartet, "Allweather", is nearing completion, and will be released in January 2019. The album features 6 original compositions and runs around 40 minutes. The quartet is comprised of Chris Schuster on tenor saxophone, Steve Wallevand on trombone, Joel Beseler- Thompson on drums, and myself on bass. Steve Wallevand also tracked the album at Media Productions in Fargo. Pete James Johnson mixed and mastered the record at Twin Lakes Sound Studio. Recording and production was funded in part by a Jade Presents Arts Partnership Grant, administered by The Arts Partnership.


A dual CD release show is on the books at The Aquarium in downtown Fargo on January 16th at 6pm. We'll be sharing the stage with the Conor Lee Quartet, who will be playing selections from their new album, "Adapt". Details can be found at the link below. Hope to see you there!



Very pleased to announce that I have moved my private lesson studio to the new Amped School of Music in downtown Fargo! The school is a full service music instruction spot with individual lessons currently available on guitar, violin, drums, upright and electric bass (me!) ukelele, voice, flute, saxophone, and will likely house capable teachers on other instruments in the near future. We\'ll also be hosting student recitals, jam sessions, and masterclasses from visiting musicians. I have plenty of lessons slots open this summer, if you or somebody you know is interested in studying on bass guitar or upright bass, please don\'t hesitate to contact the school at the link below!

11.17.17New Album/ Arts Partnership Grant

Max here- haven't been very active keeping up my website of late, but thankfully I've been quite busy on the bandstand and on the road. An update:

I'm happy to report that I have been awarded a grant by The Arts Partnership and Jade Presents of Fargo-Moorhead to assist in the recording of my next record. TAP is a local nonprofit that does a lot of great work in town to promote art of all stripes, and awards individual artist grants every year to aid in the creation of new work. Jade Presents is one of the major concert event promoters in the region, and they work together with TAP to award the music-related grants. More info on these grants, and the other grantees (I'm in great company!) at the link below. TAP also maintains a great events calendar on their website, so it's worth a bookmark.

The new album will released sometime next fall, with recording to commence in the summer. The album will feature all-new music written specifically for my quartet with Joel Beseler-Thompson, Steve Wallevand, and Chris Schuster, and I have the good fortune of having two fantastic engineers, Ryan Cofer and Pete Johnson, working on tracking, mixing and mastering.

I'll be posting updates periodically on this project over the next few months, and I'll be putting in an honest effort to keep the gig calendar here up to date going into the new year. Have a fun holiday season, see you all out there - Max

06.07.17Max Johnk Quartet broadcast/ Summer

Excited to announce that my quartet with Steve Wallevand, Chris Schuster, and Joel Thompson will be featured on Prairie Public Broadcasting's "Prairie Musicians" series in July! We filmed a half hour of music in their studio in February, show airs July 28th at 9PM on Prairie public stations throughout North Dakota and in the vicinity of Fargo-Moorhead.

Click the link to check out the promo video for the whole season of Prairie Musicians, a lot of great bands are featured.

This group will be performing live at Dempsey's on Monday, July 31st from 7-9 pm- we'll be playing some brand new music along with some of the tunes featured on the broadcast.

Other gigs are in the works, both with the septet/quartet and some cool one-off things. Take a look at the schedule here to stay up to date. See you out there!

09.14.16Fall gigs

Fall is going to be busy! Check out the gigs page to find out where I'll be, a couple highlights-

My indie rock band Wild Amphora's first album, Roadkill Parade, comes out next week. CD release at the soon-to-be departed New Direction on 9/20, don't miss it! Very proud of the release and stoked to get the record live. a preview can be heard at:


A few cool jazz gigs coming up in October- playing dinner hour at Sazerac Alley with my bud Conor Lee on 10/5, followed by my septet at the HoDo the next night. Making my debut at the new Sidestreet with a new quartet on 10/16, opening for the very gnarly Skeric's Bandelabra. Some new music at that one too. All will be worth checking out, great food and drink at along with great music.

Last but not least, we are starting up regular jazz jams again at the Red Raven. We are going to be featuring a different player with the house band each time out, then open things up. all experience levels welcome to sit in! 2nd and 4th Sundays each month.

see you out there.

03.21.16Spring 2016

just added a bunch of upcoming shows to the gig list, the next couple of months are thankfully going to be really busy. the last year was relatively quiet on the performing front, with a lot of writing, rehearsing, and planning for multiple new projects. a few of them are now going to be out in the world, so hope to see old and new friends at the gig. Notes-

Wild Amphora-

My friend Bobby and I started this band when I first moved back to Fargo nearly two years ago, and after a long gestational process, we recruited two of our closest friends, Mat and Tyler, and are nearing completion on our first full length record. Look for that in May sometime. We're starting to play out a lot more and are looking forward to getting on the road. The sound is a little hard to pin down, but its generally in the indie/alt rock universe. a friend who was trying to explain it to someone said, "I don't know, stuff you'd want to listen to?", so that's really helpful.


Been getting back into playing heavy music regularly with a few longtime friends from the local scene, all of whom played in bands I worshiped when I first started going out to shows. Sludgy, abrasive, often fast. No record yet, but we're starting to play out more. Look for us collectively at the Aquarium, and individually wondering the alley behind the Aquarium.

Max Johnk Septet-

My life as a jazz musician has been a little quiet lately, but that's going to be changing soon. I'll finally be playing music from "Lessons of Drought", along with some new tunes, in Fargo with the local version of the septet. Our first show is at Dempsey's on June 10th. This will be my first time playing in the new room downstairs at Dempsey's since it was revamped from the original Studio 222 space. be sure to check this one out.

More to come, so check out that gig page every now and then for updates!



Welcome to my new website! I've decided to bite the bullet and finally get my online thing together. This page will be the easiest place to find out what I am up to with any of my current projects, or to get in touch about a lesson or gig. This thing is a work in progress, but I intend to have most of the site up in short order. As I get rolling I will be posting my gig calendar here, press materials, etc., and I will probably leave a space for passing on any cool musician resources that I stumble across.

Looking forward to some septet gigs and other madness in 2016. stay tuned.