Randy Johnston

Homage

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There was no shortage of jazz tribute albums in the '90s, most of which focused on a particular artist. But on Homage, guitarist Randy Johnston pays homage to ten artists he admires and makes things interesting by opting for variety. Not surprisingly, Johnston salutes some jazz guitarists, including Kenny Burrell on "Lyresto," George Benson on "The Cooker," and Pat Metheny and Wes Montgomery on "Pat and Wes" (which shows us how Montgomery influenced certain aspects of Metheny's distinctive sound). But most of the artists Johnston salutes aren't jazz guitarists; he also shows his appreciation of everyone from rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix on "Angel" (which works perfectly well in a hard bop setting), to jazz-influenced pop icon Frank Sinatra on "All or Nothing At All," to jazz pianist Cedar Walton on "Cedar's Place." And Johnston acknowledges two very different tenor saxophonists by saluting the big-toned Dexter Gordon on "Society Red" and the cool-toned Warne Marsh on "Loco 47." Those who find jazz tribute albums of the '90s to be extremely predictable will be glad to know that on Homage, Johnston manages to keep us guessing.

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