Jef Lee Johnson

Singularity

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The Singularity is as good a description as any of guitarist Jef Lee Johnson's multi-hyphenated stew of rock, blues, jazz, soul, and noise. Recorded live (mostly during a two-night stand at New York's Knitting Factory, but also with some in-studio workouts), the 17 songs range from minute-long snatches of atmosphere to extended tracks like the ten-minute wiggly funk groove "Ain't Seen Irene" and the almost Hendrix-like space rock of "Communion." A point of similarity would be Material, the early-'80s kings of New York art-funk, but nothing on The Singularity is as precious as Material's over-studied music could often be. Even on those songs where Johnson risks overplaying, his gritty and direct vocals, along with his seldom-hidden knowledge of solid rock and soul riffs, are enough to make The Singularity an immediately accessible but far from simple collection.

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