Marc Johnson / Marc Johnson's Right Brain Patrol

Magic Labyrinth

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The second album by bassist Marc Johnson's trio is something of a departure from the first. The instrumentation is the same; Arto Tuncboyaciyan is back on drums and percussion, but guitarist Ben Monder is replaced by the somewhat superior Wolfgang Muthspiel, whose sharp attack and incisive, boppish lines provide much of the backbone to this session. There's a fine remake of "Samurai Hee-Haw," a Johnson original that first appeared on his outstanding Bass Desires album, and Tuncboyaciyan provides an eerily lovely, wordless vocal on "J.P.," another Johnson composition. Most interesting of all is the strangely abstract bass-and-congas arrangement of the Miles Davis standard "Solar." Muthspiel contributes the borderline atonal "A Paco" and a nice Latin-tinged number entitled "Around That Time." None of this is exactly straight-ahead; nor is it really radical -- just unusually original.

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