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Henry Johnson with Nancy Wilson: Organic

C. Michael Bailey By

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Organic presents a brand of slick and sophisticated guitar-organ jazz that is closer to the mainstream when compared to similar recent recordings made by similar combo formats. This should be no surprise, as guitarist (and vocalist) Henry Johnson is at the helm of a seamless rhythm section. The recording was made with no overdubs and was solely recorded in complete takes. Arriving only 20 minutes before the sessions, Nancy Wilson lends her considerable vocal skills to the recording on four cuts. Johnson duets with Wilson on three of these four songs, with Wilson turning in a solo "If It’s the Last Thing I Do." Ms. Wilson sings with an easy air and superb character, and the two vocalists duet capably.



The grooves here are smooth and transparent. Henry Johnson’s guitar tone sounds round and glossy, seomthing like a cross between Joe Pass and George Benson. His instrumental takes on "It Could Happen To You" and "My Foolish Heart" are fleshed out as plush ballads—low fat, with no greasy ingredients. This is not Jimmy Smith chicken shake music. If the Modern Jazz Quartet had been an organ-guitar trio, it would have sounded a lot like this.



For more information, visit A440 Records on the web.




This and all pieces published in December 2003 are dedicated to my late father, Norman L. Bailey (1915-2003).


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