Frederick Johnson & Andre Reiss
TNT Groove International
Journeyman singer Frederick Johnson, a Tampa Bay native, has a dreamy voice – and he never over-sings. Much the same can be said for Nashville guitarist Andre (Andy) Reiss. He never over-sings on his instrument – he’s got all of the Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow tricks and licks – but he is first and foremost an accompanist. He’s been there shaping the sound of so many greats and never stepping out to show off. He knows and loves songs. Same with Johnson.
Duo is the two of them offering up some wonderful jazz standards. Sometimes we’ll hear a bit of the blues in Reiss’ sound (as on the version of Stormy Weather) or some country licks and rockabilly (Almost Like Being In Love) but it’s always filtered through jazz.
Think of those albums by Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Tuck & Patti even Cleo Laine with John Williams. That’s very much the territory. But perhaps the best comparisons are the first two – the reverence and majesty and repertoire of Ella and Joe, the skills of Tuck & Patti.
Just a beautiful sound from both players, always. Excellent song selection, and they swing their asses off with no sign of a rhythm section. Proof, for those that need it still, that rhythm and time is the job of every musician, never just the bass player and drummer. They use rhythm and are aware of time to build grooves but every musician must be able to hold time, to know it, to help shape it and every musician helps to carry the rhythm.
Johnson’s rich voice and expressive range allows for soulful interpretations (Autumn Leaves) and deep blues too (Willow Weep For Me). This is masterclass stuff from two greats. You need to hear this. It’s everything that’s perfect about music at its finest.