As an independent Billboard-ranked musician, producer, owner of a music label, Three Keys Music, and NAACP Image Aware nominee, International Jazz Keyboardist/Pianist Marcus Johnson has emerged as one of the young lions of the music world. Johnson’s unique self-taught style of piano play has earned him distinction among his peers, praise within the media and accolades across the music industry. And now, he continues his quest for success in the business world with his lifestyle branding company, FLO Brands, LLC. ™
Johnson’s testament to his perseverance began in 1995 when he was pursuing both his MBA and Juris Doctorate degrees at Georgetown University, and decided to independently produce and distribute his first jazz album, Lessons in Love, which sold more than 40,000 units; a phenomenal success for an unknown independent artist’s debut release. This album helped him launch his career as a renowned jazz keyboardist/pianist. One year later, he released Inter Alia, with staggering success in the Kemp Mill retail chain, outselling the Titanic soundtrack in the first two weeks of its release. The success and attention that it brought led Johnson to sign a deal with N2K Encoded Music where he released several CDS until the label was sold in 1998.
Johnson’s success caught the attention of Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder and businessman Robert L. Johnson who invested in Marcus and his new found company, Marimelj Entertainment Group. Under their partnership, MEG’s label, Three Keys Music based in the Washington, DC metro area, established its own full service recording studio, Studio 8121; and two music publishing companies, Marimelj Music Publishing and Three Keys Music Publishing. Johnson was also responsible for releasing and producing CDs on the Three Keys label for national jazz artists Michael Lington, Jaared Arosemena, Bobby Lyle, Nick Colionne, R&B singer, Alyson Williams and neo-soul songstress Zahzarah and smooth jazz Saxophonists Phillip Martin and Brian Lenair.
Johnson spent several years heading the label and producing music on the aforementioned artists and over the next ten years, also released several critically acclaimed albums: Inter Alia, Chocolate City Groovin’; Coming Back Around; Urban Groove, In Person: Live at Blues Alley, Just Doing What I Do, Smooth Jazz Christmas and In Concert for a Cause, all charting at Top 20 or more on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts.
Marcus has released more than fifteen (15) Billboard charted CDs, and has the distinction of having his groundbreaking 2008 Billboard Top 20 Contemporary Jazz FLO (For the Love Of) CDs which consisted of three distinct albums -- FLO Chill, FLO Romance and FLO Standards , all charting Top 10 on Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts simultaneously. Johnson’s previous solo 2007 release, The Phoenix, was widely lauded by jazz critics and aficionados alike and like Johnsons previous CDs, it peaked in the Top 20 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts.
It should also be mentioned that Johnson’s next Top 20 Contemporary jazz releases, the unique and multi-faceted Poetically Justified ( 2009) and This Is How I Rock (2011) solidified Marcus Johnson as heir apparent to the George Duke and Herbie Hancock style of funky urban groove music. Creatively, Johnson continues to evolve as an artist. With the recent release of his FLO: Holiday CD and the ongoing collaboration with famed Parisian Producer DJ Pulse – as the musical duo “Juris” – he has managed to maintain his traditional jazz roots, while also remaining on the forefront of the expanding “Euro Jazz” movement. His music continues to enforce and define his musical legacy as a “jazz movement for all people”.
Now, with firm footing in the ever-expanding music world, Johnson has moved on to grow his lifestyle branding company, FLO Brands, LLC,tm aptly titled For the Love Of ; at its core, FLO began as a musical publishing and lifestyle branding company to house all of Johnson’s musical and entrepreneurial ventures. The scope and reach of the company has expanded and FLO Brands launched FLO Wines, LLC in the first quarter of 2012 with overwhelming success. Joined at the helm by President/Co-Founder, Robert Piziali and Sean Johnson, COO and Chief Financial Officer, and the financial support of The Wentworth Group, Marcus Johnson’s FLO Wines has captured the taste buds of wine lovers from California to South Carolina. A masterful marketing plan ignited by Marcus Johnson’s “Sips & Sounds” performances has married music and wine For the Love Of concept.
Marcus Johnson is a Billboard ranked, NAACP Image Award nominated jazz keyboardist and pianist. He is CEO and Founder of Flo Brands, LLC and Flo Wines, LLC. He is a new dad, daughter Chase was born September 12, 2012 and his world is beyond music, his dreams far-expanding and his conviction beyond belief. He is the embodiment of the renaissance man of the new millennium and his desire to succeed as an entrepreneur is definitive. He is young, brilliant and confident… and believes in the joy of people… giving them what they want from him… For the love of life, self, happiness, passion and joy -- Flo Music and Flo Wines… a renaissance statement!
Marcus Johnson - Contemporary Jazz Pianist
Inter Alia – 1997
Lessons in Love – 1997
Coming Back Around – 1999
Urban Groove – 2000
In Person: Live at Blues Alley – 2002
In Person…Live DVD 2003
Just Doing What I Do – 2004
A Smooth Jazz Christmas - 2005
In Concert for A Cause- 2006
Phoenix - 2007
FLO (For the Love Of) Series - 2008
FLO Chill, FLO Romance, FLO Standards
Poetically Justified - 2009
This Is How I Rock - 2010
FLO Chill Volume 2 - 2010
And the Critics Proclaim...He's Talented
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“He is not only a true professional but a supremely talented musician and composer… A next generatio...“He is not only a true professional but a supremely talented musician and composer… A next generation pianist that is here to stay! Definitely in my CD player!”- Lee Prosser
His Music Speaks
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“Marcus Johnson is one of Smooth Jazz's most expressive keyboard players, whose virtuosity encompass...“Marcus Johnson is one of Smooth Jazz's most expressive keyboard players, whose virtuosity encompasses Fusion, Urban Soul and straight Jazz.” –Soulbrother.com
The Desired Sound
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“It's hard not to like Johnson. His true essence and improvisational artistry makes him a sought-aft...“It's hard not to like Johnson. His true essence and improvisational artistry makes him a sought-after candidate for silky, soulful jazz.”- Natasha Washington
Critics agree...SJC is destined to become a classic!
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You know and love this guy's music, and, if you live in the DC area, you know him as co-host of Smoo...You know and love this guy's music, and, if you live in the DC area, you know him as co-host of Smooth Jazz 105.9's popular morning show. Keyboardist (and Three Keys Music owner) Marcus Johnson gives us the hottest, hippest Christmas album since Ramsey Lewis' immortal "Sounds of Christmas" project years and years ago. Marcus likes to think of his music as "instrumental R&B," and SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS has definitely got the smooth grooves goin' on... Plus some very cool straight-ahead stuff too. This one's gonna get tons of play in my house this season, and for seasons to come. All the tunes are holiday classics, from the carols to the secular pop favorites, and Mr. Johnson breathes fresh new life into each one of them. You'll be hearing this one a lot on your favorite Smooth Jazz outlet as well this season. My favorites include the festive "This Christmas," the sultry take on "Little Drummer Boy," and East Coast crooner Keith Ailer's rich vocal work on "The Christmas Song." What's important to me in a Christmas album, though, is that all the songs are great, and that it wears well when you put it on endless repeat for those holiday get-togethers. SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS passes that test with flying colors, and I'm betting that it's destined to become an instant Christmas classic. ~SCOTT O'BRIEN
Just Doing What I Do
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This CD has something for everyone. It’s a blend of smooth jazz, R&B grooves, and as Marcus himself...This CD has something for everyone. It’s a blend of smooth jazz, R&B grooves, and as Marcus himself puts it, the DC sound. The CD supports a number of moods. At times the songs are soft and mellow, quite suited to a laid back, romantic evening at home. At other times the songs are funky and groove worthy, ready to hit the clubs. There are 19 tracks total, including some non-musical/verbal interludes, plus one bonus track.
This CD is formatted very much like an interview. Between tracks a woman asks Marcus about his music and his latest CD. Marcus responds both vocally, and through his music. This is a clever way of introducing the music to people who may not be familiar with it, as well as giving the seasoned Marcus Johnson fan a little something extra.
After a brief interlude, the CD opens with Marcus on keys playing the title track “Just Doin’ What I Do” with David Dyson matching him note for note on bass. The radio single, “18th & M” (co-written by John Blasucci and Three Keys recording artist Nick Colionne), is upbeat and catchy. It’s a fine choice for a first single and should be a good fit with most commercial radio stations.
One of the standout tunes is “RJ’s Groove.” It’s got a great beat and will make you want to dance.
There are also several vocal tunes on this CD as well. Most of them are sung by Frank “Scoob” Marshall, who does a good job as lead vocalist on the R&B flavored “Love,” and on the accompanying vocals in the (Beyonce Knowles) song, “Me, Myself, and I.”
There is plenty of appealing original music on this CD, as well as interesting covers of other songs. Marcus Johnson has opted to include covers of the Alicia Keys tune “If I Ain’t Got You,” and a Nina Simone song called “Just To Get By.” The vocals on “If I Ain’t Got You” have been replaced by the soulful renderings of the keyboard. The bonus track (also a clever marketing trick by the folks at Three Keys) of Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” is in good hands with Three Keys recording artist Alyson Williams on lead vocals.
The one criticism I have is that although there are several tunes that include saxophones, there is no mention in the liner notes, other than on the track “I Wanna,” of who the sax player or players are on this CD. The listener is left to wonder if Mike Burton performed all the sax parts, or were there other players involved.
Overall, I enjoyed this CD, and I’m glad I purchased it. Both long time fans and newbie’s alike, will appreciate the sounds and musicals styling of Marcus Johnson.
- Mary Bentley
Attorney General Holder Gives Pianist Stage Fright
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Everyone gets a little choked up sometimes, but over Eric Holder? Marcus Johnson, who has the No. 4 ...Everyone gets a little choked up sometimes, but over Eric Holder? Marcus Johnson, who has the No. 4 album on Billboard's jazz chart, slid his fingers a little too quickly on the keyboard Monday when performing the national anthem at the Department of Justice's domestic violence awareness event. "I'm sorry, I'm so nervous right now because this man is my idol," Johnson said, referring to Holder. "I've been on Billboard... but I'm going to start over." With a signal from Holder, Johnson restarted. This was the jazz great's first performance in front of the attorney general, a man he has long admired. "When I was in law school and he was appointed deputy general under Janet Reno, it was huge because he was a first," Johnson told Yeas & Nays. "As black students at Georgetown law and and business, we felt that he had passed insurmountable obstacles." Johnson continued to follow Holder's career and glowed when he got the top justice gig. "When he was named attorney general, it was one of the proudest days of my life," Johnson said, "a down-to-earth, self less individual running the Justice Department, imagine that." Johnson said a slip-up like on Monday hadn't happened since high school, but playing his own version of "The Star Spangled Banner" before someone he holds in such high regard gave him a shake. "I just did what I could," Johnson said. "I'm human just like the rest of you all, I'm nervous but I got this, and then I started over." Johnson recently "Joined the List" -- a number of celebrities who have used their social equity to raise awareness of domestic violence. Among those listed are Kevin Spacey, Wynton Marsalis. Eva Mendes, Faith Hill, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Scarlett Johansson, and Joe Torre.
The Joy Of Jazz
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The Stage for the Silver Spring Jazz Festival will be set in the parking lot behind Downtown Silver ...The Stage for the Silver Spring Jazz Festival will be set in the parking lot behind Downtown Silver Spring's Lee Building, Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, on Saturday, 3:30 to 10:45 p.m. Allen Toussaint, veteran New Orleans singer, songwriter, and pianist, will headline the sixth annual event, which will also feature The United Jazz Ensemble with Karen Gray, Afro Bop Alliance, The Marcus Johnson Project and The Madison Sweet Heaven Kings. Admission is free. Call (301) 565-7300 or visit www.silverspringdowntown.com.
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As popular as he is prolific, keyboardist-composer Marcus Johnson sent out several invitations befor...As popular as he is prolific, keyboardist-composer Marcus Johnson sent out several invitations before recording his 11th CD. A smart move, too. Saxophonists Najee and Marcus Anderson contribute cameos along with vocalists Maysa and Miles Jaye, who play a significant role in pushing some of the performances on "Poetically Justified" beyond the realm of radio-friendly instrumentals. Of course, longtime fans who appreciate Johnson's flair for tweaking smooth jazz sounds won't be disappointed by some of the offerings. Take, for example, "Chillaxin," with it's synth-triggered washes and percolating beats, "Ellicott City," a riffing, funk bass-anchored track featuring the saxophonist Phillip Martin, or "Cherish the Journey," a polished ballad that blends elements of pop and rock. The same goes for Johnson's bright, groove-happy take on the Jacksons' "This Place Hotel" and the John Legend hit, "Used To Love You." As for the tunes showcasing the guest vocalists, hey add plenty of lift to this 14-track collection. Jaye is in top form, especially on his self-penned ballad, "Heaven," the CD's romantic pop closer, while Maysa charges "Hold On" with her customary mix of spirit, soul, and personality.
Life Of Song
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A teenage crush turned Marcus Johnson into a musician. "I wanted to write a song for this young lady...A teenage crush turned Marcus Johnson into a musician. "I wanted to write a song for this young lady, and I decided, 'Okay, I'm going to do this music thing,'" says the pianist and composer. Since that first song at age 14, the Silver Spring resident has been on Billboard's top-ten contemporary-jazz chart several times, and his production company, Three Keys Music, competes with major labels. His smooth jazz mixes everything from salsa to go-go, reflecting his eclectic background. His mother played classical piano, but it was when his funk-loving father took him to see Earth, Wind & Fire that Johnson decided that was the world he wanted. Johnson, 38, looks buff and polished in his state-f-the-art Studio 8121 in Silver Spring, but that wasn't always the image he projected. "I must have been the nerdiest guy on campus," says Johnson, who hauled a briefcase, law books, and music equipment around in a shopping cart as her earned business and law degrees from Georgetown University. Although raised in a middle-class neighborhood, he had seen enough down-and-out musicians to know he needed both degrees. Johnson has produced more than 30 CDs, including 14 of his own; teaches entertainment law at Bowie State University; speaks overseas for the State Department on subjects such as intellectual property rights, and perform on the road six months of the year. He plays for charity events, and he produced a CD to raise funds for the Silver Spring YMCA. His performances always seek to inspire. "Every time i play, I talk," he says. "I call it my keyboard pulpit. I minister to people saying, 'Hey, you can do what you want to do.'" Johnson learned that lesson firsthand as a teen hanging out on the DC streets with other go-go fans and their boom boxes. "I'd sit and listen with them, but then they'd say, 'You gotta go home now because we're about to go do some bad things.' They saw where I was going, and they wanted me to get there."
Oxon Hill jazz musician keeps busy loving life
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When asked to describe his mind state, Marcus Johnson has two words: "Loving life." And why shouldn'...When asked to describe his mind state, Marcus Johnson has two words: "Loving life." And why shouldn't he be? The jazz pianist owns his own studio and the FLO and Three Keys Music labels, releases albums on an almost annual basis, lives in hip National Harbor and just returned from a European tour. His June album, "Poetically Justified," sneaked back onto the Oct. 3 Billboard charts, bringing his chilled-out tracks back onto the country's top 10 jazz albums. Not content with business and musical success, Marcus gives back to the community on the boards of non-profits such as YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club. And his MBA and law degree from Georgetown aren't just for business, but teaching business, too. "I'm an adjunct at Bowie State -- I'm not doing it for the money." Johnson, 38, says in his studio's lounge, the Silver Spring skyline looming in the background. "It is essential to connect to the community. [That] is the key to making it." That lifelong community connection -- he moved to Silver Spring at the age of 2 -- is the reason one of the country's most successful jazz musicians stayed home. "The thing about Los Angeles and New York is they are not what they seem to be. It's better to be a big fish in a new and up-and-coming pond. My goal wasn't just to be a musician. It was to use music and business to control my destiny," Johnson says. Johnson recalls being a young boy playing under a bench, his mother's legs tapping the piano pedals as she played above him. He explains what Willa Mohamed, his mother, means to motivation. "She's a 20-year survivor of a massive stroke," Johnson said. "It should have killed her. When you see what she's gone though ... you think I'm going to let anything get in my way?" Mohamed recalls moments when her son's path changed -- his first synthesizer, jazz band, college graduations. But their mother-son bond? That's stayed the same. "He's the kind of [son] that will call me every day, just to say 'I'm checking in.' I'm very appreciative of that," Mohamed says. Though Johnson released his first album in 1995, the turning point in his career came in 2004, when Johnson hooked up with manager Sedonia Walker-Bell of New Jersey. At the time, Johnson was focusing on running his label -- a period he says was characterized by "spending millions of dollars on people you believe in that didn't believe in themselves." Walker-Bell, who once managed Teddy Pendergrass, helped Johnson focus on his music. "It's not really so much managing when you have an artist who has been around as long as Marcus. It's more counseling, advising, moving his career up nationally. Just giving a broader vision," Walker-Bell says. Much of that vision is achieved though online networking. For example, Johnson says many gigs originate from online requests. He converses with the requester, and they work together to bring The Marcus Johnson Project to town. "He insists on getting e-mail addressed everywhere he performs. He'll answer the e-mail. There's always a response back. I think his [Web presence] is one of the best," Walker-Bell says. Considering Johnson's busy life answering e-mails, booking gigs, teaching, working with the community, and cranking out albums, it seems like vacations would be plentiful. But that's just not the case. "My staff needs me," Johnson says, displaying the same spirit that convinced him to release albums as The Marcus Johnson Project rather than as Marcus Johnson, a way to acknowledge everyone's role in the music. "It's irresponsible for me to disconnect." Johnson speaks intelligently on a myriad of topics, from increasing development in Prince George's (the count needs better public relations) to his target audience (he doesn't want you, he wants your parents). But one thing he says in unconvincing. "Soon, I promise, I'm going to treat myself to six days off."
Wake Up With Al
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Marcus Johnson was a featured guest on an episode of the national weather network The Weather Channe...Marcus Johnson was a featured guest on an episode of the national weather network The Weather Channel's "Wake Up With Al." The segment featured a live performance by Marcus Johnson, pictures of the Poetically Justified album cover and a lengthy interview by weather personality Al Roker.
Plastic Surgeon to Open D.C. Office
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Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Ayman Hakki, whose clientele has included Miss America and Washington ...Celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Ayman Hakki, whose clientele has included Miss America and Washington Redskins Hall of Famers, will open up shop in D.C. next year. The surgeon is circling in on space in a Logan Circle building, with a lease expected to be inked soon. Hakki, who lives in Georgetown, will be there one or two days a week to do Botox and other in-and-out procedures. The office, which will be called Luxxery Express or Luxxery II, will open early next year. Hakki also runs a surgical boutique in Waldorf, which offers such procedures as breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and face lifts. His work was featured on MTV's "True Life: I Want Breast Implants." The Waldorf location is holding an invite-only party on Dec. 5, with jazz musician Marcus Johnson and hair stylist David Palmer. Guests can get anti-aging tips and answers to questions about new cosmetic surgery trends.
Poetically Justified: Marcus Johnson
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Marcus Johnson's a master at the sort of sophisticated, smooth piano jazz heard best underneath the ...Marcus Johnson's a master at the sort of sophisticated, smooth piano jazz heard best underneath the chatter at late-night cocktails. But on his 11th CD, he also keeps his ears tuned to what's happening today, injecting enough urban-music staples to earn a sort of hip cachet. There's also enough musical distinction to hold your interest. There are three types of tunes here: mellow smooth-jazz instrumentals with classy piano; instrumental tunes with piano and often sax riding on top of the in-the-pocket beats and hand claps; and sophisticated vocal tunes. The first is marked by songs like "Danni's Song," "In The Moment," Ellicott City," and "This Place Hotel." The best songs are the funkiest: "Chillaxin," which may be Johnson's catchiest song yet; "Cherish The Journey"; and two tunes that make excellent use of the vocoder, "I See You" and the sublime "Say Yes" with Devin (D Monet) Doyd. The vocal tunes are led by "Capice," with the signature voice of hit R&B vocalist Miles Jaye, and "Master of My Heart," with the sultry vocal styling of Incognito's Maysa.
Johnson & Johnson Album Release
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Marcus and Ski Johnson at their combined album release party at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown sponsore...Marcus and Ski Johnson at their combined album release party at the Ritz Carlton Georgetown sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
Marcus Johnson, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston Up For NAACP Awards
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Several artists currently getting airplay on the Smooth JAzz Network have received nominations for t...Several artists currently getting airplay on the Smooth JAzz Network have received nominations for the 41st annual NAACP Image Awards. In The Outstanding Jazz Album category, pianist Marcus Johnson was recognized for Poetically Justified CD. A song from that CD, "Chillaxin'," is being played on the Smooth Jazz Network's yoursmoothjazz.com and on the New Music Hour with Maria Lopez. Johnson will be competing against the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride & Inside Straight, and Vanessa Williams, the latter nominated for her The Real Thing CD. The CD that features the former Smooth Jazz Top 20 hit "Just Friends." Williams is also nominated for Outstanding SUpporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in ABC's Ugly Betty. Maxwell, whose Grammy-nominated instrumental song "Phoenix Rise" is the Feedback Track this week on the Smooth Jazz Top 20, is nominated in both the Outstanding Male Artist and Outstanding Album for his BlackSummer's Night CD. His song "Pretty Wings" is nominated in both the Outstanding Music Video and Outstanding Song categories. Alicia Keys was nominated several times -- for Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Song for "empire State Of Mind" with Jay-Z; Outstanding Duo with Jay-Z; Outstanding Music Video for "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart"; and Outstanding Album for The Element of Freedom. One song from that CD, "Doesn't Mean Anything," is currently on the Smooth Jazz Top 20. Whitney Houston earned a nomination as Outstanding Female Artist. Whitney's latest, I Look To You, features the former Smooth Jazz Top 20 hit of the same name. That song is also nominated for Outstanding Music Video. The 41st NAACP Image Awards, which honors individuals and projects promoting diversity in the arts in recording, television, motion pictures and literature, will air February 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
This Is How I Rock - CD Review
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Last year I reviewed Marcus Johnson’s eleventh album, “Poetically Justified” and found it nice intro...Last year I reviewed Marcus Johnson’s eleventh album, “Poetically Justified” and found it nice introduction to his smooth keyboard playing. His newest release delves into the pop/rock genre and adds a jazz twist to them. “Fly Like An Eagle” from The Steve Miller Band is transformed by Marcus smooth Fender Rhodes into a jazz funk piece with a soft rock background. Sly and the Family Stone’s classic “Thank You (For Letting Me Be Myself)” comes up next, soulful and funky. Marcus gets help from sax man Najee, and Marcus drapes his keys round Najee’s sax. The first single to come out of this album is my favorite “I Can’t Go For That”. Hall & Oates their world famous hit really shines here in this jazz funk version. I adore Marcus takes on the keys set to a swinging background. On Herb Alpert’s “Rise” Marcus’ keyboard replaces Herb’s horn, until trumpeter Greg Adams shows up and together they continue this fantastic cover version. The song “Virtual Insanity” is unknown to me, but I like it, and its violinist Bobby Yang who adds a violin arrangement. With Sergio Mendes’ hit “Mas Que Nada” you cannot go wrong, and Marcus maintains the Brazilian flavor while his smooth keys and the voice of Maysa Leak complete the picture. The Beatles were of huge impact on everybody and Marcus chose to add “Come Together” to this collection. The bass has an important role here, and makes it a jazz funk tune. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is not my cup of tea, but Marcus plays it cool. On the whole this is a daring experiment into pop/rock, but I must admit that, although I didn’t like the last track, Marcus takes good care of it. His versatility is once again proven, and he gives the songs his own signature sound. And that’s what counts!
- Patrick Van de Wiele
Marcus Johnson; This is How I Rock
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Keyboard maestro Marcus Johnson's latest album is a bit of a departure from his norm in as much as h...Keyboard maestro Marcus Johnson's latest album is a bit of a departure from his norm in as much as here he delivers a long player made up entirely of cover versions - and there are few choices that might raise the odd eyebrow amongst the jazz fraternity - smooth or otherwise. Maybe the biggest surprise is a lengthy take on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". It begins slowly and quietly with Johnson's clear piano outlining the basic melody line; then it builds into a rock crescendo as Stanley Cooper's guitar slashes aggressively across the track. Don't expect it to be featured on the playlists of Jazz FM! A little less edgy is a funky take on the Beatles' "Come Together". Johnson leads on Fender Rhodes but the bass of Producer David Dyson is dominant too. The other six schedulers though versions of Sly Stone's "Thank You (For Letting Me Be Myself)", Steve Millers "Fly Like An Eagle", and Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" are a decent distance from what is usually termed "smooth" or "lite" jazz. The Jay Kay song in particular is marked by some almost frantic violin from Bobby Yang. The most predictable cuts are covers of Herb Alpert's "Rise" (trumpet from Greg Adams). Hall and Oates "I Can't Go For That" and the old Latin war horse, "Mas Que Nada'. After a sparse - almost sombre start, that one takes off with the ever welcome Maysa on chorus vocal who then goes on to scat against Rudy Gonzalez's sax and Nehemais Iglesias' inventive percussion. It throws new light onto something very familiar - ditto the seven other tracks.
- Bill Buckley
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