52 Recommend It!

Walt Johnson: Ladies (2012)

By Published: | 2,896 views
Walt Johnson: Ladies The etymology of the word "troubadour" describes the term as "a singer of songs of chivalry and courtly love." If that is the case, then trumpeter Walt Johnson demonstrates that he is a trumpeting troubadour nonpareil with his marvelous CD, Ladies.

Using a concept thread and a classic feel, Johnson and ensemble deliver ten beautifully performed selections—with each bearing a lady's name and an association to a great singer or musician, such as Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
1915 - 1998
vocalist
, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930 - 2004
piano
and Maurice Chevalier. But, while Johnson is a "womanizer" here, make no mistake: this is not syrupy, commercial schmaltz. He and his mates play with depth of passion and emotion most worthy of the musical "beauties" they salute.

Supported by a complement of outstanding musicians, Johnson (long a standout in Las Vegas and Hollywood) musically adores each of his ladies. His command, robust tone and vibrato on both trumpet and flugelhorn (beautiful and pure on "Stella," "Michelle" and throughout) and his soaring range steal the show. Johnson's phrasing and dynamic approach seem to caress every melodic phrase. While he leaves each lady for the next, each selection is as exciting as, and is performed as beautifully as, the last love.

The Gil Evans
Gil Evans
Gil Evans
1912 - 1988
composer/conductor
-influenced arrangements by pianist Ron Feur are brilliantly orchestrated and texturally innovative. Feur's keyboard playing is divine, offering a subtle touch, keen sense of dynamic nuance and well-delivered solos. Like Johnson, he worked in Las Vegas showrooms and on the road with Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
1935 - 1977
vocalist
, and is now with Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Frank Sinatra, Jr.
b.1944
vocalist
, who covers his father's mega-hit "Nancy with the Laughing Face." Trombonist Bob McChesney
Bob McChesney
Bob McChesney

trombone
is satin-smooth on "Ruby," as is fine saxophonist Mike Smith on "Louise." Paul Tavenner's drumming is in fine taste.

Johnson's performance of "Maria" soars, drawing comparisons to Maynard Ferguson
Maynard Ferguson
Maynard Ferguson
1928 - 2006
trumpet
's classic rendition. Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
's "Brigette" and "Portrait of Jenny" are faux strings-supported gems. And, saving his true Lady Love—his wife, "Mi Lourdes"—for last, Johnson, along with Feur's keyboards and strings, seals his love letter with a musical kiss.

Ladies is a tour d'amour for Walt Johnson and his musicians. It is a magnificent rendering, recognizing some of the most beloved selections in the Great American Songbook and performing them likewise.


Track Listing: Stella by Starlight; Ruby; Nancy (With the Laughing Face); Louise; Michelle; Laura; Brigette; Portrait of Jennie; Maria; Mi Lourdes.

Personnel: Walt Johnson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ron Feur: keyboards; Frank Sinatra, Jr.: vocal; Mike Smith: alto saxophone; Bob McChesney: trombone; Paul Tavenner: drums

Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Weekly Giveaways

Roscoe Mitchell

Roscoe Mitchell

About | Enter

Peter Lerner

Peter Lerner

About | Enter

Jamie Saft

Jamie Saft

About | Enter

Sun Trio

Sun Trio

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records