Saturday, February 12, 2005

Back to Steve Johnson

I received in the mail this week a CD entitled Bluestoons, by Steve Johnson. I was pleased to receive the unexpected disk, and listened to it right away. (The prolific Johnson just does not slow down!)

It’s a solid blues album with catchy rhythms and some nice blues riffs. It’s solidly produced, the gratifying “East West” being my favorite cut on the disk. After two listens I can say I truly enjoy it.

Which is saying a lot. I know my own taste in music, and most of the CDs that I buy I know I am going to like. But I have received numerous recordings and CDs as gifts, and I am not always as pleased with such gifts as I was after receiving Bluestoons. For example, I am unable to locate my Zamfir album, with apologies to my friend George. It has not stood the test of time as far as my musical tastes are concerned. (Also, Shawn Drover with Megadeath gave me their Countdown to Extinction album while I was in Los Angeles in 1992, and I think I passed it on to someone months later with the cellophane still on the cassette.)

But there have been times when others have shared their musical tastes with me and the album has stayed with me over the years and remains a favorite in my collection.

The first is Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales, which my roommate brought home after its release in 1993. (I had been a fan of the Police, but had not followed Sting’s solo career unitl that point.) We listened to the songs on that album together that night, and there was not one on the disk that did not immediately capture my imagination. Sting has been a favorite of mine ever since.

The other is Now is the Hour by the Charlie Haden Quartet West. Joining the jazz bassist on the disk are pianist Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts on sax, Larance Marable on drums as well as a string orchestra filling out the cuts on this CD. It’s good jazz, but mellow, West Coast jazz, and was a gift from my friend Mike in 1996. It remains one of my favorite disks to this day.

Honorable mention goes to Tim for Sam Phillips’ Martinis and Bikinis and to Curt for Cachao’s Master Sessions.

Will Steve Johnson’s Bluestoons stand the test of time and rank as one of my favorite CDs years from now? We’ll have to wait and see. In the mean time, might I recommend the book Show Me Microsoft Windows XP by the ever-versatile Steve Johnson? The man just will not slow down!

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