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Rachael Johnson: January 2014
Personnel: Rachael Johnson, piano
Alan Wakeman, saxes
Bill Coleman, bass
Tom Roberts, drums
On any view, this CD represents a perceptive and intriguing performance from Rachael Johnson.
The album has ten tracks, seven of which are original compositions. Many artistes offer no explanation of CD tracks leaving the listener to struggle over their interpretation. Refreshingly, Rachael Johnson explains the musical influences of each of her compositions and the inspirations leading to their creation.
A recent interview with Rachael appears elsewhere on this site. There, she refers to two particular influences, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and certainly the inspiration of both is evident here.
From the outset, this is a captivating and very enjoyable ‘listen’. It is highly accessible and might accommodate a newcomer to jazz, or a seasoned jazz musician, in showing the skills of jazz improvisation.
Virtually all tracks are upbeat yet always embracing a graceful approach, and her talents are equally evident in the slower paced Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood, a masterly mixture of tender and melancholic playing where the influence of Bill Evans is clearly to be heard.
Other tracks worthy of note are Drive where her solo is a dynamic, forceful interpretation full of intricate detail yet never over indulgent; and Killer Joe, a gently lilting piano solo, which complements a splendid break from Alan Wakeman on tenor sax, the opening of which puts one in mind of those first notes of saxophonist, Bobby Wellins, playing Starless and Bible Black in the seminal 1965 album, Under Milkwood.
Throughout, the sidemen offer excellent support to complete the picture of a Quartet perfectly at ease with itself. Rachael Johnson deserves wide recognition which, surely on this performance, she can’t fail to achieve.
The CD is a ‘steal’ at £7 including postage. Orders can be placed via the website ww.rachaeljohnsonjazzwix.com/piano <http://www.rachaeljohnsonjazzwix.com/piano>
or via www.jazzcds.co.uk <http://www.jazzcds.co.uk>
or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
or telephone on 07570 917483.