MARC JOHNSON

Post Bop / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Fusion • United States
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Marc Johnson (born October 21, 1953) is an American jazz bassist, composer and band leader. Johnson was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1953, but grew up in Texas. At 19, he was working professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony, and while at the University of North Texas, he played in the One O'Clock Lab Band and was also the principal bassist in the NTSU Symphony. In 1978, Johnson joined legendary pianist Bill Evans' in what would be Evans's last trio. Johnson toured and recorded with Evans until the death of the pianist in 1980. His many recording credits since then include discs with Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Burton, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Eliane Elias, Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Baron, Philly Joe Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Paul Motian and many others. He has also appeared as a leader of his own bands, starting with Bass Desires, read more...
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MARC JOHNSON Discography

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MARC JOHNSON Bass Desires album cover 3.75 | 6 ratings
Bass Desires
Post Bop 1986
MARC JOHNSON Second Sight album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Second Sight
Fusion 1987
MARC JOHNSON Two By Four album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Two By Four
Post Bop 1989
MARC JOHNSON Right Brain Patrol album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Right Brain Patrol
Post Bop 1992
MARC JOHNSON Magic Labyrinth album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Magic Labyrinth
Post Bop 1995
MARC JOHNSON The Sound of Summer Running album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
The Sound of Summer Running
Post Bop 1998
MARC JOHNSON Marc Johnson / Eric Longsworth : If Trees Could Fly album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Marc Johnson / Eric Longsworth : If Trees Could Fly
Post Bop 1998
MARC JOHNSON Shades of Jade album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
Shades of Jade
Post Bop 2005
MARC JOHNSON Marc Johnson / Eliane Elias : Swept Away album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Marc Johnson / Eliane Elias : Swept Away
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2012

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MARC JOHNSON Second Sight

Album · 1987 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard
ENDLESS SUMMER DAY

If you've never been convinced that a back-cover photograph could epitomize an album of instrumental performances, take a look at Dieter Rehm's placid beach scene on the back of Marc Johnson's Second Sight (1987). While Johnson's first album with the same line-up (1986's Bass Desires) was an off-the-wall avant-garde surprise, Second Sight, while retaining some of the same textures, is otherwise very different. This is a much more cohesive, accessible, thought-provoking, and yes, relatively quieter album that doesn't sacrifice any of Bass Desires's sense of adventure or experimentalism. Second Sight remains the better album for the simple reason of more memorable compositions and atmospheres. Which of course begs the question, "Why is there a lone helicopter over the ocean on the front cover?"

The vigorous drumming of Peter Erskine and the howling guitar trade-offs of Bill Frisell (left-channel) and John Scofield (right-channel) mark "Crossing the Corpus Callosum" as a continuation of the previous album. The beach seems very far away in this musical depiction of a futuristic landscape with Frisell's special effects and Johnson's arco playing. From here on out, the sonic atmosphere changes radically, with Frisell's following "Small Hands" being a gently picked largo. Erskine's "Sweet Soul" is one of those magical moods you wish could last forever: somewhat reminiscent of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", Scofield takes the first verse, Frisell the second verse, and both join together on two choruses for this album's most soulful (naturally) track. Before anyone thinks this has become an easy-listening album, Scofield's "Twister" and "Thrill Seekers" restore order with twangy guitars, rock'n'roll clichés, offbeat drumming, bizarre basslines, and much soloing. Johnson, who never dominates the material, takes his first solo on "Thrill Seekers", which fades with more of Frisell's loopy effects. "Prayer Beads" is entirely a solo piece for Johnson, with a performance moving from leisurely to energetic. Listen to the double-bass strings snap against the fretboard in a resonant recording studio (credit: Rainbow/Oslo). "1951" is a quirky, country-ish Frisell composition with stops and starts, bends, slides, a wandering bridge, and subtle percussion from Erskine. The album closes peacefully with Johnson's "Hymn for Her".

Before recording this album, both Johnson and Erskine had guested on John Abercrombie's masterful Current Events, and many of the same ethereal atmospheres on that album appear on this one. In spite of the wild contrasts, Second Sight is a lot more beautiful and a lot more "just plain fun" than Bass Desires, and is highly recommended to fans of all the players involved. In 1998, Johnson and Frisell would record an album called The Sound of Summer Running that attempts to be an aural sequel to this album, but falls just short. It's on the Verve label, and has Pat Metheny replacing John Scofield, and Joey Baron instead of Peter Erskine.

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