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Walt Johnson | Ladies

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United States - California - LA

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Jazz: Orchestral Jazz Jazz: Cool Jazz Moods: Solo Instrumental
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by Walt Johnson

Throughout the years men have composed songs about the Ladies in their lives, these are just a few.
Genre: Jazz: Orchestral Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Stella (feat. Ron Feuer)
6:19 $0.99
2. Ruby (feat. Bob McChesney, Mike Smith & Ron Feuer)
5:14 $0.99
3. Nancy (feat. Frank Sinatra Jr & Ron Feuer)
6:57 $0.99
4. Louise (feat. Mike Smith)
5:26 $0.99
5. Michelle
5:06 $0.99
6. Brigette (feat. Ron Feuer)
6:23 $0.99
7. Laura
6:40 $0.99
8. Jennie
5:34 $0.99
9. Maria (feat. Bob McChesney)
6:42 $0.99
10. Lourdes (feat. Ron Feuer)
4:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Walt Johnson and Ron Feuer met years ago
 playing shows in Las Vegas, but it wasn't
until 1998 while on tour with Elvis the Concert
 that they became close friends. The musical
bond between them is quite obvious on this CD,
which is the 4th recording project they have
done together. Ron's piano and keyboard
artistry, his unique orchestrations with Walt's
trumpet and flugelhorn interpretations, make
this album a tantalizing musical experience.
 The great voice of Frank Sinatra Jr. can be
heard on the classic song Nancy With The
Laughing Face. Alto saxophonist, Mike
Smith adds his jazz virtuosity on Louise
and Ruby and Bob McChesney adorns
the album with his incredible trombone playing.



to write a review

Review by Matthew Warnock

Album: Ladies
It is rare in the jazz world to find an album that features a running theme throughout the music. Sure, there are albums that focus on different styles, such as modal or swing jazz, and you get the occasional album that features tunes by a particular composer, but for the most part jazz albums tend to be a mixed bag of tunes and pieces. This is not a slant on the genre, what makes jazz great is the variety, diversity and creativity that flows through the idiom, but sometimes it is nice to find a record that follows a theme in the music, titles, or overall concept. Pianist Ron Feuer and trumpeter Walt Johnson have recently come together on a jazz record that features tunes that are all written about women. The album, which is creatively arranged and recorded, brings to light 10 classic jazz tunes that feature women’s names in the titles, providing an arching theme for the record as the musicians interpret each of these 10 well-known tracks.

The arrangements on the album are a mixture of big-band charts, orchestrated strings parts and improvised solo sections, bringing to mind the classic West-Coast recordings of the ‘50s and ‘60s, in particular those of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. This is poignant because Frank Sinatra Jr makes a guest appearance on the tune “Nancy with the Laughing Face.” Beginning with an orchestral intro, complete with harp and a nice solo trumpet line, Frank Jr. brings a classic approach to the melody line, evoking memories of his father’s most memorable recordings. Though Frank Sr. was in a league of his own, his namesake brings an emotional and powerful interpretation of the melody to the tune, digging into a warm baritone timbre as he leads the listeners through the lyrical content of the tune. Not to be outdone, Johnson and Feuer contribute memorable moments of their own, especially the piano solo which is one of the most melodic and engaging on the record.

Besides the jazz tunes on the record, such as “Laura” and “Stella by Starlight,” the album also features a wonderful version of the Beatle’s composition “Michelle.” While the tune has made its way into the jazz repertoire in recent decades, mostly due to its inclusion in the famed Real Book catalogue of works, the song can sometimes come off as kitschy when included in a set or on a record, but this is not the case here. Johnson’s interpretation of the melody is emotional and technically engaging, and the arrangement and orchestration act to support the melodic content of the piece, never going so far as to be a distraction. Throughout the tune, Johnson brings a warm, flugelhorn tone to his lines and phrases, bringing to mind more of a human voice than a brass instrument as he weaves his way in and out of each lyrical phrase. There is also a nice intro and bridge section between the melody and the piano solo that helps break up the arrangement and prevent it from becoming a head-solo-head tune, as is so often the case with some jazz records. By expanding the orchestration and arrangement, Johnson and Feuer are not only expanding the musical possibilities of the tune, they are showing a willingness to go beyond the basics in order to engage and develop a relationship with their listener, something that will be appreciated by fans and newcomers to the duo alike.

Overall, Ladies is a strong record for Johnson and Feuer. It features some great tunes that are creatively arranged and expertly performed, allowing fans of the tune side and the improvisational side of jazz something to enjoy throughout the record.

Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)