Marcus Johnson, Piano, synths, keys and drum programming, various musicians in combination and vocalists
Here's our piano man, once more proving his Jazz skills in a less-than-Jazz setting. Everything lopes along to a pleasant groove. Everyone doing everything right, and producing a sort of middle-of-the-road pleasantness. In all fairness, your reviewer should be younger and less interested in the likes of Bill Evans to be able do justice to this music. Nevertheless, one keeps waiting for Johnson to get back to the piano, a territory in which he is obviously at home. Then all of a sudden things get hot. "Down Home" (track 8) has the crew in a dirty mood, and none the worse for it. According to the title, "Hormone" (track 9) should have been all the more down home, but somehow doesn't match the power of the track before it. Marcus goes out nicely with "The Puzzle," a roaming, reflective solo piano piece. A fine and dandy set. Should please anyone with Jazz leanings, but not enough to fall flat over.
by Lawrence Brazier
(Available at Jazz Now Direct)
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