Friday, July 31, 2015

Max Johnson Trio, Something Familiar

Blossoming bassist-composer-bandleader Max Johnson gives us his best album to date with Something Familiar (Fresh Sound New Talent). It's a trio with Kirk Knuffke on trumpet, Ziv Ravitz on drums and of course Max on bass. The trio is especially well-matched and very much a three-way affair.

Kirk is one of the brighter lights on the new horn scene and he plays bop-and-after cool-heat with some extraordinarily nice solo work on this one. Max is a bassist with much to offer and the ability to articulate his thoughts percussively and in a full-toned way. Ziv swings and swings with imagination and heat. I don't have the back cover on this one but it sounds like these are Max's tunes. They come across well.

It's a fully varied program of smokers and balladic things. Max shows you that he is the complete bassist and a voice to contend with, a leader of stature, a soloist of power and ideas. Knuffke sounds great as ever. Ziv has the touch and the feel to make it all pop.

It is a real joy to hear this! Anyone who digs modern-and-beyond jazz should get this one. Bassists need to hear it. It just lays right so, what the heck, everybody should get into it.

Great outing!

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