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WIDE OPEN JAZZ AND BEYOND

Ode to Jef Lee Johnson: The Promise of Lovolution

Read "Ode to Jef Lee Johnson:  The Promise of Lovolution" reviewed by Charles Blass

“When the music's happening, life is happening.... Why must we only join hands after the storm?... How true are you? Nothing else even matters." --Jef Lee JohnsonJef Lee Johnson, prolific, virtuosic, humble, was in some ways not made for this world. “I'm over the world," he sang. He was certainly made for music though.Time to tell the truth about Jef Lee Johnson. For too many, it's better late than never. His brilliance was evident enough, however ...

INTERVIEWS

Jef Lee Johnson: It's Been So Long Since I've Seen with My Eyes

Read "Jef Lee Johnson: It's Been So Long Since I've Seen with My Eyes" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

[ Editor's Note: This 2002 article was republished in memory of Jef Lee Johnson who died at age 54 on January 28, 2013. ]Jef Lee Johnson is a true American original and a true American gift to the musical world. Guys like Jef are the embodiment of every reason to use the phrase, “He's got more talent in his pinkie than so and so has in his entire body!" Problem is, especially lately, relatively dawdling critics like myself ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jef Lee Johnson (and the Wordy Mimes): Hellion

Read "Hellion" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

A 2002 AAJ interview with Jef Lee Johnson, who can virtuosically play anything with strings on it, showed that in conversation and in music, he's an eclectic, ripping headlong through a gamut of free-associations and precise distillations. Here's one capped with an analogy musicians should swear by: “I have to put these records out myself. The music is to be heard, not just me sitting around and improving upon what's been done. It's like having paintings hanging in the house. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jef Lee Johnson, Sonny Thompson and Michael Bland: News From the Jungle

Read "News From the Jungle" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

A quintessential slab of guitar-based, acid-drenched, New Power Generation/ Blackrock Coalition crossbred funk brought to you from the recording studios of Minneapolis... starring a now officially, ridiculously, inexcusably under-recognized guitar god/genius/freak from Philadelphia, all coming to you through the good graces of... France?The most intriguing--bizarre, even--musical by-product of Vivendi's corporate devouring of Universal has been the spending of significant francs on some super-funky and super-modern releases with connections to the Minneapolis area. These include the new Happy Apple ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jef Lee Johnson: St. Somebody

Read "St. Somebody" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

In an interview that I recently had the pleasure to conduct with the multifaceted, multitalented, multi-instrumentalist--hey, just plain old multi Jef Lee Johnson, there came time for a pointed exchange. Acknowledging the jazzier elements of his career, but also appreciating his broad knowledge and deep understanding of all styles, I asked if he would ever make a record where he completely immersed himself in the “pop" or R'n'B worlds. After all, anyone who has pulled stints with D'Angelo, Ronald Shannon ...


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