NORMAN JOHNSON – THE ART OF LIFE – PACIFIC COAST JAZZ

This rather short six-track 25-minute-long jazz album features Johnson performing in a mix of instrumentals and vocal numbers, two of which feature an actual group. For the rest of the time, it is just Johnson and either a singer or one more musician, so he plays the part of a jazz multi-instrumentalist, something I have previously not come across. Probably for very good reason, as it is the interaction between the musicians which makes jazz what it is, what gives it its very soul, whereas what we have here is something which is pleasant, sanitized, and perfect 70’s background music. I can’t really imagine anyone sitting down and just listening to this, as it is way too clean and safe. He has a pleasant guitar sound, but although he may style himself on George Benson, sadly there is a great deal of difference between the two of them. Not one I can ever imagine playing again.

3/10 Kev Rowland

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