THE MARCUS JOHNSON PROJECT - Inter AliaThe Marcus Johnson Project

Inter Alia

Marimelj/Lightyear 54421-2

Marcus Johnson, piano, Fender Rhodes, synth programming and keys, vocals; various musicians in combination with various background vocalists and featured vocalist, Alyson Williams.

The first track, "The Neck Project," made itself evident with its waggle-waggle beat. Marcus Johnson is a pretty good keyboard artist. Another one of those guys who probably plays solider Jazz than this fare when he is alone at home. Not that we should diminish the merits of this CD. They all get a pretty compulsive rhythm going, all in the mode of easy listening. And Marcus does get some improvisational stuff into the whole with, moreover, a few riffs that lift the material a notch or two. The mood is laid back, as a rule. Smooth, competent, moody stuff. The steady soft-rock beat makes this all a matter of late-evening listening, with little sweat involved. One finds a certain appeal in "Love Talk And Slow Jams" (track 6), which has the kind of melodic potential that Johnson could have turned into a ballad rendition with a singer of the blues persuasion. Nice writing. All in all a soul-inflected CD for the young in love.

by Lawrence Brazier

(Available at Jazz Now Direct)

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