Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Wayne Wesley Johnson & Friends: Jazzamenco

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The well-traveled and now New Mexico-based guitarist Wayne Wesley Johnson pulls out all the stops on the generally engaging double-CD set Jazzamenco, using (at various times) no less than seven guest guitarists, saxophone, Latin percussion, pan flute, charango and Chinese pipa to amplify the rhythm section of keyboards, bass and drums (which is present and accounted for on an indeterminate number of the session's thirty tracks, fifteen on each disc). As the saying goes, with friends like these . . . one could easily make the case that Johnson's sidekicks are quite impressive.

When appraising the album's nature and design, two antithetical features must be touched upon. On the one hand, this is by and large charming and lively music in a Latin vein, admirably performed by everyone involved. On the other, there isn't much actual jazz on Jazzamenco in the sense that the essence of jazz is improvisation. While there are a handful of concise and respectable solos along the way (most on guitar but one by saxophonist Rusty Crutcher on "Zamora"), the lion's share of the charts are through-written for the ensembles as a whole. That's not a bad thing in itself but listeners should be informed up front not to expect many sustained or resourceful ad libs. Johnson, who once criss-crossed the country with the great Les Paul, wrote or co-wrote twenty-two of the songs and may have arranged all of them (the notes are unclear about that). Ernesto Lecuona is represented by the familiar "Malaguena," guitarist Johnny Smith by "Walk Don't Run," Ed Marshall by Frankie Avalon's rock anthem, "Venus," George Gershwin by the closing "Summertime."

It must be assumed that most of the solos, such as they are, are by Johnson although guitarists Lou Pallo and Edgardo Cruz are credited with bassist Jon Gagan on Disc 1's sunny "Ticklestick." Matt Vaughn, unlisted among the album's personnel, performs (instrument unknown) on Disc 1's "Song for the Soul" and Disc 2's "Venus." Turning to the music itself, it is melodically handsome and rhythmically seductive from the outset. In other words, there are no complaints in either respect. As a bonus, Johnson uses the various instruments at his command deftly and to good advantage. In sum, low marks for jazz content but three stars for the blueprint, buoyancy and musicianship.

Track Listing: Disc 1: Blue Rumba; A Bit of Freda Vol. 2; Malaguena; Between Two Mountains; Walk Don’t Run; Turquoise Jungle; The River Suite; Ticklestick; La Gloria; Mama Song; Caresses for the Princess; Sambaleo; Song from the Soul; Fire of the Gypsy; Hypnotic Safari. Disc 2: Autumn; Dance of the Dove; A Bit of Freda Vol. 1; Chi Di Di Cha Cha; Hypnotic Safari; Pharaoh’s Journey; Short Stories; Segovia’s Dream; Passion; Cathedral Bells; Venus; Zamora; Melancholy; Pipeline; Summertime.

Personnel: Collective: Wayne Wesley Johnson: acoustic, electric guitar, guitar synthesizers, piano, bass, drums; Rusty Crutcher: saxophone; Thom Bresh: guitar; Edgar Cruz: guitar; Tom Doyle: guitar; Nokie Edwards: guitar; Tim Farrell: guitar; Lou Pallo: guitar; Ruben Romero: guitar; Sher Lindsay: keyboards, vocals; Paul Arntz: bass; John Gagan: bass; Ben Lucero: bass; Tim Stroh: bass; K.C. Morris: drums, percussion; Josef Martinez: Latin percussion; Mario Reynolds: pan flute, charango; Gao Hong: Chinese pipa; Consuelo Luz: vocals.

Title: Jazzamenco | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Henry II CD/LP/Track Review
Henry II
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Conference Of The Mat/ts CD/LP/Track Review
Conference Of The Mat/ts
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Âme Sèche CD/LP/Track Review
Âme Sèche
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 14, 2018
Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read "Still Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read "Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto" CD/LP/Track Review Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 9, 2018
Read "Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Doug Collette
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Mønk" CD/LP/Track Review Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Black Flower" CD/LP/Track Review Black Flower
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 23, 2018