Jeff Johnson

The Art Of Falling

Origin Records 82386

Jeff Johnson, bass; Hans Teuber, saxes; Randy Porter, piano; Billy Mintz, drums

I love this CD! It's everything I want to hear from musicians working in the standard sax/piano/bass/drums line up. The musicianship here is of the highest level.

"Castles" shows a strong sense of interplay between the quartet. They weave their way around the melody, moving at times like one musician. Teuber reminds me of Paul Desmond in the way the notes seen to float out of his horn with ease. He is highly lyrical. Porter's solo is slow to unfold, smoldering over the rhythm section. Johnson's bass solo is exquisite. His tone is big and woody, as he rolls the notes off his strings in unhurried fashion.

Billy Mintz is the perfect drummer for this session. He's willing to lay back when needed so that the music can develop at it's own pace. Listen to how he opens "Slow Hot Wind" with a delicate cymbal lightly punctuated by the drums. As the song develops he pushes things forward, yet never intrudes. His solo dances across the drums in an angular way much like Paul Motian. "The Art Of Falling" opens with sax over driving bass and sparse drumming. Johnson solos with assuredness. There are no wasted notes. He and Mintz are a joy to hear togethr. I can't recommend this CD enough. Buy it!

By Michael Bettine

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