cleveland-based musician Doug Johns has over 25 years of superfunkybass experience.Performing on local,national,and international stages,Doug has had the opportunity to play with many great musicians,developing and furthering his own playing style and technique.Victor Wooten described Doug Johns as "a great talent who will definitely make his mark in the bass world" Bass Player Magazine wrote"Doug wastes no time demonstating command of his instrument,and went on to say he "is an impressive showcase of..versatility and professionalism" Dweezil Zappa cuts right to the chase and says,"Doug is a freak of nature"
11/13/06 Randy Allar - The Fusion Show, WCSB
Cleveland bassist Doug Johns has done it. He has found the formula to a great sounding bass recording. The combination of funk and fusion mixed with the Hammond B-3 and horns has created a diverse musical adventure. Johns’ first solo release has raised the bar for musicians t strive for, and has pushed bass playing to a higher plateau.
The disc opens with “Pimpasaurus Rex,” which features the writing core of Johns, drummer Chris Ceja, and Buddy Miles Hammond B-3 player Mark Leach leading a stellar horn section through an old-school sounding funk free-for-all.
“Frog On My Face” and “HHP” continue in the same approach to the compositional attitude until the hauntingly beautiful “Indian Summer” changes the tone of the disc temporarily. It is a memorable ballad that reminds the listener of a much different place.
Other notable songs on the disc are a Led Zepplin classic, “Stairway To Heaven,” “Gig Shirt,” and a duet with bassist Victor Wooten called “The Claw.”
This disc will continually surprise you with the different directions and textures to the eclectic bassists musical personality. Simply called Doug Johns, this 17-track monster will not disappoint. Outstanding beginning to end! You can catch up with Doug through his website at www.dougjohns.com.
Doug Johns | Independent (2007)
By Glenn Astarita
You can add Doug Johns’ name to the populace of bad-ass electric jazz-funk/fusion electric bassists. Deriving knowledge and inspiration from the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke and other pioneers, Johns steps out with his debut solo effort, comprised of seventeen supercharged jazz-funk works. Think of Tower of Power and vintage Brecker Brothers, supplanted by Johns’ hyper-mode lines, circular phrasings and slapping techniques. He provides a fluid underpinning for the punchy horn arrangements while pursuing a vibrant, forward-moving impetus.
Johns is also a melodic soloist and frequently serves as the traffic director here, as many of these works are built upon cascading and zinging thematic choruses. On “Are You Free,” he cranks up the effects pedal amid a bold and brash arrangement featuring Mark Leach’s swirling Hammond B-3 chord progressions. Johns stretches out here yet turns up the heat with a fuzz-toned sound during the peppery rocker “Yeti Boy,” and slams matters into overdrive atop Take Malanorma’s programmatic synth percussion grooves on “Chez Funk.” Superstar Victor Wooten performs on tenor bass in tandem with Johns on “The Claw.”
Johns lays down an abundance of funk-i-fied grooves on this thoroughly hip and alluring session. Aspiring and seasoned bassists take note.
Visit Doug Johns on the web.
Track listing: Pimpasaurus Rex; Frog On My Face; HHP; Indian Summer; Are You Free?; Slang; Stairway to Heaven; Gig Shirt; The Claw; Hippobottomus; Yeti Boy; Bass In Your Face; Sunrise, Sunset; Chez Funk; Foot Jive; Even Up; Big Two-Headed Monster.
Personnel: Doug Johns: bass; Joe Miller: trumpet; Chris Ceja: drums; Victor Wooten: bass; Kenny Anderson: sax; Mark Leach: organ; Raphael Guzman, Jr.: percussion; Aaron Lindsey: keyboards; Utaah: saxophone; Daris Adkins: guitar; Bill Ransom: percussion; Greg Moore: guitar; Rob Williams: saxophone; Chris Burge: saxophone; Take Malanorma: drum programming.
Style: Funk/Groove | Published: October 21, 2007
Cleveland bassist Doug Johns is an absolute monster at his craft. With a foot stompin’ combination of funk, jazz, R&B and fusion styles, Johns has taken the prototypical funk genre to levels beyond expectation – both with a queue of recent live dates and with his self-titled release as well. Sporting shades of everything from Tower of Power and George Duke, to the Brecker Brothers, Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, and Bootsy Collins, Johns’ 17 expertly conceived cuts are as masterful as they are a delight to listen to.
Johns is a true virtuoso, with a flashy technique of “circular phrasings” and buoyant rolling and slapping is at once overly caffeinated, fluid and chock full of overt sexual swagger. Flashy horn arrangements, Hammond B-3 organ and syncopated drumming back up Johns’ diverse tuneful oeuvre. And if the set opener “Pimpasaurus Rex” doesn’t instantly win you over – inspiring head bopping, that blissful overbite, etc. – then you’ve probably assumed room temperature. Johns, drummer Chris Ceja and Buddy Miles’ B-3 player Mark Leach all contribute to the party vibes with focused instrumental prowess.
Other notable songs on the disc include “Gig Shirt,” a duet with Bela Fleck bassist Victor Wooten (on a maniacal “The Claw”), “Frog On My Face” and an inspired reading of Led Zeppelin’s classic, “Stairway To Heaven.” Only the wistful “Indian Summer” changes the tone of the disc, the lone ballad on an otherwise fanciful disc. Not just for guitar wanks (although they’re sure to thrill by it as well) Doug Johns is an outstanding outing from beginning to end. He and the flamboyant Chris "Freekbass" Sherman (of Cincinnati) are arguably the best funk bassists in the entire state, if not all of the Midwest.
The last time this reviewer was truly awed by a bass player, Stuart Hamm sat about 20 feet in front of him and performed the harmony and melody lines of Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus & Lucy” simultaneously, without a third hand or backing band. Johns put that experience out of my head almost entirely. Check this mad hatter out!
Listen to Doug Johns' "Pimpasaurus Rex" here.
Don’t miss Doug Johns during the “Monsters of Bass” gig at the Winchester in Lakewood this Friday, November 30 at 8PM. The evening features Johns, Jo Sallins & Bill Clementes (believe it or not, a one-armed bass player). The Winchester, 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood. Visit Johns online at http://www.dougjohns.com. Visit the Winchester online at http://www.thewinchester.net. Buy Doug Johns at CDBABY here.
From Cool Cleveland Managing Editor Peter Chakerian peterATcoolcleveland.com
Bass Musician Magazine
Doug Johns | "Doug Johns", 10/01/2007
Meet Reviewer Damian Erskine
'll admit, I hadn't heard of Doug Johns before. Again, I'm amazed at the wealth of "undiscovered" talent out there in the world. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, Doug's self-titled release is a very musical and funky release. Also featuring Victor Wooten on tenor bass for a track, you get the idea... Funky, full of bran twisting slap lines and great funky octave-bass melodies. A very bass heavy album (definitely aimed at bass players), but a wide open and uber-funky introduction to another great gun for hire out there in the world! I'd keep my ears open for more, because we're sure to hear much more from Doug.
L'esperienza maturata da Doug Johns in circa 25 anni di numerose partecipazioni e collaborazioni sfocia in questo debut-album solista che può essere considerato, senza dubbio, il punto di congiunzione di molteplici ambienti musicali tra i più variegati.
Doug respira infatti nel suo lungo percorso aria soul, jazz, blues ma anche quella più frizzante rock e funky.
Soprattutto di quest'ultima si appropria, e come ognuno potrà notare, scorrendo tutti e 17 i brani, è da essa che trae potenza e vigore compositivo.
Il basso di Johns possiede notevoli sfumature cromatiche che gli permettono di spaziare dai ritmi più propriamente funk, per approdare con notevole disinvoltura ai canoni jazz, fino a sperimentare suoni più per così dire acidi, e che a volte possono avvicinarsi ai tocchi di Les Claypool.
Pimpasaurus Rex apre l'album con un piglio decisamente forte ed estremamente dinamico, elemento che non manca praticamente mai in nessun brano.
In questo pezzo inoltre, Doug ricorre alla preziosa partecipazione di Joe Miller, Kenny Anderson e di Victor Wooten in " The Claw ".
Il basso come ci si può aspettare fa da linea guida per tutti gli altri strumenti ed è letteralmente in grado di trasformarsi come un camaleonte in molteplici forme.
Johns passa infatti dalle linee più marcatamente sincopate come in Frog on My Face,HPP, Hippobottomus a quelle più morbide jazzate come in Sunrise,Sunset fino ad
arrivare alle trame rock molto dure come in Big Two Headed Monster dove opta per una soluzione sonora piuttosto sperimentale, per arrivare da ultimo alle movenze soul come in Are You Free?
Doug si cimenta anche in una piccolo riarrangiamento molto originale di Stairway to Heaven, recuperandone il motivo principale e creandone un piccolo momento di improvvisazione e scherzo.
Degno di nota è Chez Funk, ove Johns si ritaglia uno spazio compositivo sperimentale sfruttando solamente il montaggio di loops e di refrain e dando vita ad un solo molto intenso e allo stesso tempo ricco di tocchi corposi che mostra in toto le qualità tecniche di questo artista e che in qualche modo, con le dovute precauzioni, ci potrebbe rimandare col pensiero alla soluzione adottata in Tutu di Miles Davis.
Un'ultima nota riguarda Indian Summer, brano che rispecchia ampiamente le qualità e l'approccio compositivo sentito di Doug Johns, tale da produrre una trama sonora davvero
"poetica" quasi come un dipinto i cui colpi di "pennello-basso" ci restituiscono la vista di un paesaggio rilassante per occhi ed animo, già soltanto per questo, il lavoro di Johns merità di essere gustato fino in fondo.
Canzoni consigliate: Indian Summer, Chez Funk, Pimpasaurus Rex, Are You Free?
di Andrea Marchegiani