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Live at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe DVD by Randy Johnston

Jazz guitarist Randy Johnston has played with such greats as Lou Donaldson, Lonnie Smith, Etta Jones, Lionel Hampton and his mentor, Houston Person, as well others. He has toured Europe, South America, Asia and Africa as well as the United States. He is currently on the jazz faculty at New York University, The State University of New York Purchase, and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford and also taught at Long Island University and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

He has nine critically acclaimed CDs as bandleader and this DVD, Live at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe, recorded in March of 2005, is his first video. This set offers up a mix of 8 covers and 4 original compositions.

Johnston is accompanied by Tom Pietrycha on bass and Tony Leone on drums.

Although the filming of this video is mediocre at best (most of it is shot from an awkward angle beside the drum kit,) the music is light, tight and enjoyable for the most part. Randy’s dexterity on the guitar is clearly evident, Pietrycha's bass-playing is soft and smooth and the set includes a few scathing drum solos by Leone, whose collaboration adds a notable dimension of fire and pizzazz to this ensemble.

Highlights include Coltrane’s "Impresions" and Parker’s "Billie’s Bounce," as well as Johnston’s own "Green Curry" and "The Night Bird."

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Randy Johnston
  • CD Title: Live at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe DVD
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Mel Bay Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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