Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

126

Randy Johnston: Homage

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Beginning with 1991’s Walk On and continuing through two more Muse dates (all of which are currently out-of-print), a few sets for High Note and then 1998’s Riding the Curve, guitarist Randy Johnston has championed his own take on the mainstream jazz guitar tradition, doing so with not much of any fanfare whatsoever. But with his second effort for Cincinnati’s J Curve label, Homage, things just might start to change for the better. Johnston believes it to be his best effort yet and I’d be hard pressed to argue.

The premise here is quite simple- pick a few tunes and write a few more that have something to do with some of your influences as a player, gather a top-notch rhythm section, and then add a brassy horn section. Furthermore, hire a capable arranger in the guise of Rich Shemaria to put together the charts and you’ve got yourself a frontrunner. Johnston is, of course, the main soloist here and he carries the show with a warm and burnished tone and a coherent improvisational style that sagaciously uses space and patterns of tension and release. Also taking a few well-placed solos here and there are trumpeter Jim Rotondi, tenor man Eric Alexander, pianist Xavier Davis, and baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola.

The material is particularly strong and just a bit out of the ordinary to boot. For instance, Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel” acquires new life in a sweet version that barely resembles the original, while George Benson’s “The Cooker”, Kenny Burrell’s “Lyresto” and Dexter Gordon’s “Society Red” all benefit from the fact that they haven’t been performed to death in the past. Johnston’s own “Pat & Wes”, dedicated to Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery, features those mellow octaves endemic to both saluted players’ arsenals and “Cedar’s Place” has a beguiling structure and chord progression akin to Cedar Walton’s own aesthetic. Throughout it all however, Johnston maintains his own identity utilizing the tunes as a mere starting point. A more superior homage one couldn’t ask for, wouldn’t you say?


Title: Homage | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Verve Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)" CD/LP/Track Review Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Combsy" CD/LP/Track Review Combsy
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Trinity One" CD/LP/Track Review Trinity One
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 16, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor