Randy Johnston

Hit & Run

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Randy Johnston's eighth CD as a leader features a shifting lineup of veteran musicians and a pair of solo tracks, each crafted carefully to leave a lasting impression. This talented guitarist, a Detroit native and graduate of the University of Miami jazz program, is accompanied by old friend Nat Reeves on bass, pianist Bruce Barth, and drummer Grady Tate. And on four tracks, vibraphonist Joe Locke is added. The full quintet is featured on Johnston's "Down Time," (an imaginative reworking of "Autumn Leaves"), the cooking hard bop original "Hit & Run," and the strutting blues tune "The Hat Man," while Locke takes Barth's place in the gently swinging version of "The Best Thing For You." A funky approach to the Beatles' "Things We Said Today" is a quartet chart with Barth back at the piano, which shows the influence of Grant Green in Johnston's playing. Reeves and Tate back the leader in the lush treatment of "When I Fall in Love." But Randy Johnston's superb chops can especially be appreciated with his lyrical interpretation of "Here's That Rainy Day" and "For the King," the latter a catchy original written for his girlfriend.

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