Jef Lee Johnson, guitar
Other musicians, TBA
Jef Lee Johnson is a true American original and a true American gift to the musical world. While he may not be a household name, the Philadelphia- based guitarist-singer-songwriter is known as a musician’s musician. Over the past 25 years, he has built an impressive track record as a ubiquitous studio session man, producer and solo artist. Since first appearing on 1985‘s Twinkling of an Eye by violinist and fellow Philly native John Blake, Johnson has recorded with a vast array of artists, from Jeff Beck, Roberta Flack, George Duke, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Teddy Pendergrass and Mariah Carey to Stanley Clarke, McCoy Tyner, Pieces of a Dream, James Carter and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He had a brief stint during the ‘80s as a member of Paul Schaffer’s “World’s Most Dangerous Band” on The David Letterman Show and in the ‘90s was a member of drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society.
The product of a musical family, Johnson’s earliest influences included Herb Albert, Eric Dolphy and the Vanilla Fudge, reflecting his eclectic musical nature. As a teenager, Johnson discovered jazz-fusion and Chicago blues and became committed to pursuing the guitar. Initially playing in local garage bands with friends, he ultimately graduated to the ranks of accomplished studio musician, routinely doing sessions in New York and touring throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Johnson’s debut as a leader, Blue, came in 1996. He followed in 1998 with Communism and in 2000 with The Singularity. Other notable recordings as a leader include 2001‘s Hype Factory, 2003‘s double-disc Things are Things and 2007‘s Thisness. Johnson recently released his eleventh album entitled Longing Belonging Ongoing, a two-disc collection of 30 tracks featuring a wide array of songs showcasing his vocal abilities with a few instrumental tunes thrown in for good measure. Released under the moniker “aka Rainbow Crow,” Johnson covers a cross section of musical influences and styles ranging from Jimi Hendrix to the Grateful Dead. He has again maintained his individuality and artistry, offering flawless guitar complimented by a vocal style that is engaging, deep and passionate. It is equally impressive to note that Johnson played all the instruments and did all the vocal tracks himself in the confines of his home studio. Standout songs include the sultry “Gods Gone By,” the Hendrix style of “Silicone or Saline” and “The Moon Keeps Telling Me Things”, the funk laden “What’s In A Name,” the jazz-fusion of “Imposter” and the groovy pop sound of “The Gift.”
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