Gail Jhonson - Keep The Music Playing
asked Gail if here last name would be Johnson or Jhonson. She told me
Johnson would be her real name and Jhonson her stage-name. Unusual
like her name is her music. No, she is no newcomer. She already played
with Pink, Minako Honda, Norman Brown, Vanessa Williams, Mindy Abair,
Jermaine Jackson, Morris Day, Bobby Womack, Ray Parker jr., Vesta,
Howard Hewitt, Bobby Lyle, Brian Culbertson, OC Smith, Paul Jackson
jr., Pamela Williams, Phil Perry and Milli Vanilli. So you can expect professionalism.
Her pun is also remarkable. She released her album under the
label "Philly The Kid Music". Born and raised in the city of
Philadelphia she found her new home in L.A., where she is currently
working as music director with Norman Brown/Warner Brothers Records.
She is also pianist, songwriter, author, piano teacher, producer and
more. Oh, I forget something important: She is also mother of a lovely
After this short intro, we should
immediately direct our attention on her new child "Keep The Music
Playing". This album is to good to be just a tip for insiders.
The Intro opens with a short dialogue
between Gail & Genie. They discuss about practicing. Gail's
daughter asks "Why practicing anyway?"
The answer is Gail's perfect piano
playing on Just For Kicks. Gail's
performance is smooth and floating, no interruption. It's sound easy
but experienced listeners will immediately recognize her skillful touch. Norman Brown (guitar) and James Manning (bass) are professional
accompanists. Gail has written "Funk
Keyboards / the Complete Method". No, she has not learn her lessons
anymore. She is the impersonation of her own book.
Who don't know Heaven.
This tune is absolutely classic. Bebe & Cece Winans
produced this incredible song for their self-titled album in 1988.
Gail's version is very close to the original but in some parts she
breaks into a gallop in a breathtaking way. Magnificent!
How Do You Keep The
Music Playing is
another classic tune originally written by Alan Bergman and his wife
Marilyn and composed by Michael Legrand for the movie "Best
Friends" (1982). Already performed by such illuminated artists
like Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, George Benson, Patti Austin,
Shirley Bassey, James Ingram, Gail's piano interpretation is certainly
the best choice.
Sun's Ray) is a typical midtempo contemporary jazz tune with a
modest mood but excellent performance. She is accompanied by Norman
Brown (guitar) and Sekou Bunch (bass). Sekou also played with Tom
Brownie, Bernard Wright, George Howard, Stephanie Mills, Angela
Winbush and more. My albums with Sekou Bunch are Rayford Griffin's
"Rebirth Of The
Cool" and "Forever, for Always, for Luther".
I Wanna Luv U is
featuring the singer Charlia Boyer in a beautiful love song. Charlia
also appeared on Coolio's albums "C U When U Get There" and
"My Soul" and the Gospel album "Bow
Down and Worship Him". She deserves some more presentation.
Be Around is a classic R&B song which was already performed
by Regina Bell (Reachin' Back), William Bell (Bedtime Stories) Randy
Crawford (Naked and True). Originally the song was performed by the
Spinners on their hit-album "The Spinners" in 1972. The song
was written by Thom
Bell, one of the creators of the Philly Sound. Gail's seductive
piano complete with sighing strings sounds pleasant but she
should prefer her self-composed productions.
You Groove is a good example for what I mean. Pamela Williams's
saxophone and Gail's piano are a dream pair. Pamela Williams is famous
by her albums Saxtress, Eight Days of Ecstasy, Evolution and The
Perfect Love. The finest enrichment for Gail's album I can imagine. I
love this tune!!! By the way Gail has written 3 tunes for Pamela's
album Evolution ("Lifeline, Evolution and Smooth").
Goodnight is a
slow and contemplative song. Gail comments: "It was one of the
ones I did alone, like “How do you keep the music playing”, but
that one was written by Michel Legrand. There
you have it, a nice evening song to wind down on while listening. Hope
you have a good nite!" Let me summarize: Gail plays piano,
percussion, guitar, pizzicato violins, keyboards. Not bad at all!
is featuring the falsetto vocals of the gifted singer Vidais
Lovette. Never heard of him? Neither I. This song is smoooooth! Pamela
Williams and Gail are staying in the background.
What You Need is pushed by a rim shot drive which is running
through the whole piece. Gail is soloing in perfect manner backed with
Henry "Soleh" Brewers sensitive organatic background.
If you await
calypso rhythm on Tropical Island, you
are wrong. Nevertheless it's dream stuff. Pamela Williams and Gail are
doing a fantastic job jamming and improvising. And the echo sounder
tone as loop hits the point.
recommend Gail Jhonson's debut album and instantly hope it will not be