George V. Johnson Jr is a talented young jazz vocalist that specializes in a brand of jazz singing popularized most notably by Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson called vocalese. In fact, the title of this CD, Next in Line brings to bear the very words uttered by Eddie Jefferson (heard in the opening seconds of the disc) proclaiming his protege' George V. Johnson as the successor to the throne. On this CD, Johnson sings with exuberance on a number of varied standards, including tunes by Charlie Parker, Jimmy Heath, and Miles Davis.
The original "Opening Night" laments the lack of recognition that the major record companies give to serious aspiring jazz artists, and will strike a chord with every jazz musician that has ever solicited a record company in hopes of a record deal. Johnson has a smooth, graceful, and soulful style, and is supported very well in this regard by bandmates that can groove alongside, and underneath him. George V. Johnson shows us on Next In Line that he is a man dedicated to the art of song and singing, bringing forth both tradition and intuition. The promise first heard over twenty years ago is finally seeing the light of day, as Johnson is can be heard scatin' and singin' the night away. It's as if he was singing the world a lullaby; giving it everything he's got, and asking nothing in return. George V. Johnson Jr. The "V" is for Vocalese.
Eddie Jefferson sound bite: Opening Night; My Little Suede Shoes; Star Eyes; Nigerian ju ju Highlife; Gingerbread Boy; Freedom Jazz Dance; Bitches Brew.