Richard Johnson and Jud Martindale — Creatures of Habit
(11 el-0113, 1993, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01For those interested with tracking down the roots of master acoustic fret bender, Richard Leo Johnson, look no further! Uncovered from the independent release catacombs is a 1993 gem from Johnson and percussionist, Jud Martindale on an obscure label from Arkansas. All twelve tracks were recorded live with minimal overdubs from Johnson and showcase his then already great dexterity which can now be confirmed prior to his Metro Blue Note label release, Fingertip Ship from last year. Johnson's "habits" on this disc are just as spectacular as you'd expect. There are many notable pieces from the album's bright opener, "Men' Jahbo" to a few opus pieces including "Brick Dust and Fish Oil/Iron Mountain Waltz." The guitarist is adept at adding his own distinctive flair to the ten-minute track by using a shuffle rhythm counterbalanced by an Ozark Mountain motif. The second half of the piece has some added backing from electric sitar which adds a unique texture to the mostly acoustic outing. By tapping and utilizing an aggressive picking action, Johnson places himself on a plateau with Michael Hedges' high energy work. Too bad the two of them never had a chance to exchange a healthy musical dialogue. Percussionist Jud Martindale is at his best when not just time keeping by emphasizing the melodic context of the guitarist's backside so to speak. Overall, this disc is a welcome find to lovers of tasty acoustic guitar playing without self- indulgence or too much introspection.
Related artist(s): Richard Leo Johnson
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more