A student of the late Eddie Jefferson, Washington, D.C.-based vocalist George V. Johnson takes his cue from Jefferson's later (1970's) sound with a repertoire drawn largely from the contemporaneous Miles Davis book. The versatile Johnson whose resume includes acting, teaching, and producing wrote lyrics (mainly vocalese) for five of the tunes. "Freedom Jazz Dance," the most evolved performance, includes scat singing, a long tap dance (by Prat), Leon Thomas effects, and an abstraction of "Shortnin' Bread."
Johnson adapts words to musical sequences. For example on the familiar "Bitches Brew" two-note fading echo he intones "Watch Out! Watch Out! Watch Out! Watch Out!" and "Beware! Beware! Beware! Beware!" A Charlie Parker lick on "Star Eyes" comes out as "A lovely woman you are." He brings energy, enthusiasm, and confidence to his music, qualities that inspire his accompanying musicians. Unlike the many singers who hog the spotlight Johnson allows the others, notably saxophonists Arnold Sterling and Siraj, plenty of space to stretch out.
The CD sound quality is erratic.
Track Listing: Opening Night Little Suede Shoes Star Eyes Nigerian ju ju Highlife Gingerbread Boy Freedom Jazz Dance Bitches Brew
Personnel: George V. Johnson - vocals Arnold Sterling - alto Siraj - alto Bernard Samuel - piano Herman Foster - piano Tom McKenzie - bass Mark Johnson - drums Victor Jones - drums Roy Brooks - drums Tina Prat - tap dancing Other unidentified musicians