You can add Doug Johns' name to the populace of bad-ass electric jazz-funk/fusion electric bassists. Deriving knowledge and inspiration from the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke and other pioneers, Johns steps out with his debut solo effort, comprised of seventeen supercharged jazz-funk works. Think of Tower of Power and vintage Brecker Brothers, supplanted by Johns' hyper-mode lines, circular phrasings and slapping techniques. He provides a fluid underpinning for the punchy horn arrangements while pursuing a vibrant, forward-moving impetus.
Johns is also a melodic soloist and frequently serves as the traffic director here, as many of these works are built upon cascading and zinging thematic choruses. On "Are You Free, he cranks up the effects pedal amid a bold and brash arrangement featuring Mark Leach's swirling Hammond B-3 chord progressions. Johns stretches out here yet turns up the heat with a fuzz-toned sound during the peppery rocker "Yeti Boy, and slams matters into overdrive atop Take Malanorma's programmatic synth percussion grooves on "Chez Funk. Superstar Victor Wooten performs on tenor bass in tandem with Johns on "The Claw.
Johns lays down an abundance of funk-i-fied grooves on this thoroughly hip and alluring session. Aspiring and seasoned bassists take note.
Track Listing: Pimpasaurus Rex; Frog On My Face; HHP; Indian Summer; Are You Free?; Slang; Stairway to Heaven; Gig Shirt; The Claw; Hippobottomus; Yeti Boy; Bass In Your Face; Sunrise, Sunset; Chez Funk; Foot Jive; Even Up; Big Two-Headed Monster.
Personnel: Doug Johns: bass; Joe Miller: trumpet; Chris Ceja: drums; Victor Wooten: bass; Kenny Anderson: sax; Mark Leach: organ; Raphael Guzman, Jr.: percussion; Aaron Lindsey: keyboards; Utaah: saxophone; Daris Adkins: guitar; Bill Ransom: percussion; Greg Moore: guitar; Rob Williams: saxophone; Chris Burge: saxophone; Take Malanorma: drum programming.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.