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Marc Johnson: The Sound Of Summer Running

Ed Kopp By

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Legions of jazz guitar fans have eagerly awaited this meeting of superstar guitarists Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. The wait was worth it because the dynamic duo really delivers. The Sound Of Summer Running is a rich melodic affair that marries Metheny's early heartland sound with Frisell's country-jazz accents.

The album offers up ten original tunes, seven composed by the acoustic bassist Johnson. Frisell and Metheny prove to be a very sympatico pair, while Johnson is the glue that holds these tunes together. Let's not forget Joey Baron, who's appropriately versatile on drums. The title track, "Faith In You," and "For A Thousand Years" are Americana anthems shaded by Metheny's distinctive sound. "Ghost Town" could be a track off Frisell's Nashville album, while "The Adventures of Ben and Max" is a twisted piece that finds Frisell on acoustic guitar and Metheny playing his new 42-string Pikasso.

Most enjoyable to me are the CD's two most atypical cuts, the bluesy "Union Pacific" and the Liverpool rocker "Dingy Dong Day." It's refreshing to hear Metheny and Frisell in a soul-jazz context on the former. "Dingy Dong Day" has Baron laying down a Mersey beat as Metheny and Frisell play rockish chords. Picture the Monkeys or Herman's Hermits with incredible chops. This one might have been inspired by John Scofield's Beatles tribute "Twister" from the 1987 Bass Desires outing Second Sight, which also featured Frisell.


Track Listing: Faith in You; Ghost Town; Summer Running; With my Boots On; Union Pacific; Porch Swing; Dingy-Dongy Day; The Adventures of Max and Ben; In A Quiet Place; For A Thousand Years.

Personnel: Marc Johnson:bass; Bill Frisell: electric and acoustic guitars; Pat Metheny: electric and acoustic guitars, 43-string Pikasso guitar; Joey Baron: drums, tambourine.

Title: The Sound of Summer Running | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


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