Somewhat of a recluse, bassist Marc Johnson only comes out of hiding every five years or so. But when he does, it's usually to give us another nugget of inestimable value, his albums always proving to be an adventure with a healthy mix of tradition and forward-thinking originality. A veteran of one of pianist Bill Evans' last trios from the '80s, Johnson is a virtuoso artist with far-ranging tastes that have taken his own musical pursuits to many different lands. There's been the Eastern mysticism of Right Brain Patrol (1992) and the folksy nostalgia of Sound of Summer Running, a 1998 classic that was his most recent offering.
Shades of Jade proves to be somewhat of a departure. Johnson has included many aspects of his personality, going for a multifaceted recital that speaks in many grooves and offers an ensemble chemistry second to none. Both saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist John Scofield have worked together under the latter's leadership, while Scofield was also in integral part of Johnson's brilliant, if short-lived, group Bass Desires. Drummer Joey Baron's history with Johnson includes playing an important role on Sound of Summer Running.
Not your typical ECM album, Shades of Jade balances beautiful moments of retrospection, as in the case of pianist Eliane Elias' "Aparaceu, with more intense numbers. Based on Wayne Shorter's iconic line, "Blue Nefertiti is buoyed by Barron's explosive punctuations and "Raise dishes up a gospel mood in waltz time with Lovano in peak form. Equally worthwhile are "All Yours and "Don't Ask of Me, features for Johnson's own honeyed tones.
Track Listing: Ton Sur Ton; Aparaceu; Shades of Jade; In 30 Hours; Blue Nefertiti; Snow; Since You Asked; Raise; All Yours; Don't Ask of Me.
Personnel: Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; John Scofield: guitar; Eliane Elias: piano; Marc Johnson: double-bass; Joey Baron: drums; Alain Mallet: organ.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.