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CD Cover

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1. Blues By Six (listen)
2. Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You
3. Makin Whoopie
4. Minor Madness
5. Easy To Love
6. Fatback Blues
7. Mellow Soul
8. If I Had You
9. Prelude To A Kiss
10. Alone Together


Nat Simpkins-Saxophone, Eric Johnson-Guitar,  Dave Braham-Organ,  Cecil Brooks III-Drums, Ralph Dorsey-Congas

"Lots of Wes Montgomery in Johnson, embedded deeply enough in his playing to never come off as mere novelty. As in the case of the best organ/guitar bands, new rhythms abound."

-Dave McElfresh, Cadence

"I have no doubt that Johnson is going to establish new standards - much like the masters - that will be followed well into the next millennium."

-Donald V. Adderton, The Sun Herald

Eric Johnson plays soulful, bluesy guitar in a style which blends the influences of Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson. On his first Bluejay CD as a leader he displays his melodic gifts in a late-night session fronting a classic organ quartet. Johnson has made a name for himself playing with Jack McDuff, Groove Holmes, Lou Donaldson, and Ramsey Lewis. This led to his first CD as a leader, "Bumpin In LA" (Clarion Records.) "Bumpin" continues to get regular air play on jazz stations. "Makin Whoopie" features Johnson with Dave Braham on Hammond B3, Nat Simpkins on saxophone, Harold Walker on congas and drummer Cecil Brooks III - a veteran of over 100 CDs on Muse, Landmark, Evidence, ECM, as producer and bandleader.

The opening track is an up tempo blues groove by Eric called "Blues By Six" that gets everybody cooking and displays the band's smooth interplay. The next tune is a bluesy staple "Ain't I Good To You" by Andy Razaf and Don Redman. The title track, "Makin Whoopie" is given a cha-cha rhythm here, an arrangement that drummer and co-producer Brooks came up with. Producer Nat Simpkins steps in on tenor sax for the next tune, an original by Johnson called "Minor Madness" and also on Eric's "Fatback Blues", and Jimmy Smith's "Mellow Soul". All of these tunes have a classic bluesy groove reminiscent of the great organ groups of the past and present. Cole Porter's "Easy To Love" gets a straight ahead swing treatment here as does the classic, "If I Had You." Duke Ellington's lovely ballad, "Prelude To A Kiss" starts out a capella, then Braham comes in to make this a beautiful tribute to the Duke. "Alone Together" gives Eric and Dave a chance to stretch out. Compare this version to the Pat Martino recording which has been reissued on 32 Jazz and you'll see that Eric Johnson is on a par with some of the jazz guitar legends. Everything that Eric does is soulful, melodic, and filled with a tinge of the blues.

Bluejay Records
Phone: 978-314-5854
InterJazz Member Web Site