Gordon Johnson GJ4 CD Release Party

Gordy Johnson is a connoisseur of jazz piano trios, and not
coincidentally the format is his metier as a bassist. As its title
implies, GJ4 is the fourth time Johnson has mixed and matched trios
from his impressive connections with national stars and local
luminaries who are drummers and pianists, and it is arguably his best
foray into this self-defined realm thus far. My favorite songs on the
disc are the pair with Johnson musically astride the restless,
harmonically acute ivory stylings of precocious local Tanner Taylor and
the surprisingly restrained yet simmering beats offered up by
ex-Journey and current Vital Information drummer Steve Smith. Don’t
miss Matt Wilson’s innovative drumming on the Dewey Redman tribute,
"Joie de Vivre" and the Alec Wilder composition, "I’ll Be Around," or
the hushed delicacy of Johnson with Bad Plus timekeeper Dave King and
the exquisitely pensive ex-pat Minnesotan Bill Carrothers on piano on
the closing "Sleep Warm." Taylor will be on board for this CD release
gig at the Dakota, along with Monkish pianist Laura Caviani, who
contributes the gently burnished "The Return" on GJ4, and pianist Bryan
Nichols
, who is featured with Johnson and Wilson on those Redman and
Wilder numbers. The beats will be ably rapped out by Phil Hey, who has
pretty much set the gold standard for local jazz drummers the past two
decades. But most of all, these trio CD releases are the rare occasions
when Johnson’s penetrating bass lines and solos are as much the star as
the character actor complement to the prevailing music, an
assertiveness that both rewards and reminds us of his talent.