"Think early Return to Forever meets Jobim and Sergio Mendes."
San Jose Mercury News
"It's like he found a way to combine the soft-rock of Christopher Cross with the expansive sound of Milton Nascimento. ...In the best of all possible worlds, this is what contemporary smooth jazz should sound like."
Matt Collar, All Music Guide
"...Over That Wave is simply a great joy, an unexpected pleasure. There is a smooth Jazz sensibility on tunes such as the title track, as well as on "All Alone in Love," which makes this CD pleasing and accessible to a wide variety of audiences. [Johnson's] got a great, warm, full tone and style not commonly heard on radio these days - sort of a mix of Kenny Rankin, Bobby Caldwell, Jon Lucien and Michael Franks. ...A hopeful philosophy is a pervasive underlying theme of the CD, one of the things that make this CD genuinely appealing."
Val Vaccaro, JazzNow: The Jazz World Magazine
DJ'S GUIDE TO OVER THAT WAVE
1) Diana (4:08) - The freedom of childhood is celebrated in this exuberant piece, which kicks into a Cuban montuno rhythm. Note the interplay between flute and lead vocal.
2) Toda Mi Vida (5:23) - Sung in Spanish, the piece is in 6/8 time, patterned after a Venezuelan jaropo rhythm. JACKELINE RAGO'S distinctive cuatro plays against JOHN REISCHMAN'S mandolin. The rhythm section, especially JASON LEWIS' cymbal work, evokes Pat Metheny's sound.
3) Lost in Leaving (5:45) - A samba featuring JOVINO SANTOS NETO, long-time pianist for HERMETO PASCOAL.
4) Over That Wave (5:38) - The title track opens with spare voice and piano, then builds and swells with layered vocals and a full horn section.
5) Vuelveme Esperanza (6:14) - This Brazilian inspired spiritual seamlessly alternates between 5/4 and 6/4 time and features exotic percussion by JEFF BUSCH, including berimbeu on the intro. A song of hope sung in Spanish.
6) A Certain Smile (5:35) - This Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster classic opens with hymn-like three-part harmony, then moves to a modern-sound with dissonance resolving into lush chords. The three singers pass around the lead, and KEITH BENNETT gives us a moving harmonica solo.
7) All Alone in Love (4:09) - The most pop sounding cut features Ed on an acoustic George Benson-like guitar solo and scat vocals.
8) Night Closes In (4:35) - A light but driving Latin-rhythm with hints of bossa nova. Elements of Brazilian and Afro-Cuban influences complete the urban soundscape.
9) Freshet (6:18) - Originally written and recorded as an instrumental, co-producer LESLIE EVERS was inspired to write these wonderful lyrics. A freshet is a great rise or overflowing of freshwater, spilling into a body of saltwater, as one finds in Big Sur.
10) Face the West (4:49) - The CD ends with a feeling of rest and peace in this straight-ahead R&B ballad.