Arts America Blogs
Grant Johnson
MAY 20, 2012 BY WILLIAM WOLFF 2 COMMENTS
These days it’s possible for any jerk with a Fender Squier, a peace button for a pick and a bootleg copy of Garage Band to create a CD.  And wading through the mountains of discordant dreck to find that one diamond in the rough can be daunting, if not downright depressing.
But every once in a blue moon a real gem shines through the dense strata of muck.  Such is the case with lightflyte, the debut album of world-class keyboardist and composer Grant Johnson, who goes by the moniker “Captain Fogg.”
From the opening notes of his original composition, “Colors of Fall,” you know you’re in the presence of a consummate jazz virtuoso, one so confident in his abilities that he feels no compulsion to beat you over the head with his expansive technical skills and his compositional brilliance.  Though the apparent ease with which Mr. Johnson delivers  his material might tempt some listeners to label his music “smooth jazz,” this would be a grievous mistake.  For not only are his compositions vastly more harmonically rich than virtually anything in this often hackneyed genre, but his keyboard skills are nothing short of astonishing.  (On this and other cuts, Mr. Johnson plays all the parts on his synthesizer, with the exception of occasional drum and conga accompaniment by Kendrick Freeman and vocals on a few of the tunes by a number of excellent singers.)
“Cruisin’ With Monk,” another Johnson original, perfectly captures the sly wit, devious harmonic sensibilities and idiosyncratic phrasing of the great pianist and composer to whom it pays homage.  He further demonstrates his affinity for our rich jazz heritage with his interpretation of “All the Things You Are,” where he employs a vibraphone sound on his synthesizer.
To my mind, the highlight of the album is the hypnotic and indescribably luscious “Little Ones,” a composition utilizing shifting modes and pentatonic scales that feel as if they arise directly from the depths of our subconscious.  Among the many tunes I wish I had written, “Little Ones” is right at the top of the list.
The album closes with “The Wall Street Rag,” a diabolically clever dissection of the financial meltdown featuring a terrific vocal by Craig Stull.  Among the lyrics:
“All we wants, the biggest market share,
Don’t care how we get it, don’t care how we get it,
All we really wants, to conquer the planet,
In the name of freedom,
We’ll wreck the party, get out of the way or die,
‘Cuz we’re here to stay…”
Throughout the album, Mr. Johnson displays a rock-solid grounding in traditional jazz, but he has forged such a distinctive individuality that he never sounds derivative.  It is indeed rare to encounter a truly original new voice in jazz, and rarer still to find one that makes such a contribution to our great jazz heritage.
But don’t take my word for it.  Check out Grant Johnson’s lightflyte for yourself.

Arts America Blogs
Grant Johnson
MAY 20, 2012 BY WILLIAM WOLFF

 These days it’s possible for any jerk with a Fender Squier, a peace button for a pick and a bootleg copy of Garage Band to create a CD.  And wading through the mountains of discordant dreck to find that one diamond in the rough can be daunting, if not downright depressing.
But every once in a blue moon a real gem shines through the dense strata of muck.  Such is the case with lightflyte, the debut album of world-class keyboardist and composer Grant Johnson, who goes by the moniker “Captain Fogg.”


From the opening notes of his original composition, “Colors of Fall,” you know you’re in the presence of a consummate jazz virtuoso, one so confident in his abilities that he feels no compulsion to beat you over the head with his expansive technical skills and his compositional brilliance.  Though the apparent ease with which Mr. Johnson delivers  his material might tempt some listeners to label his music “smooth jazz,” this would be a grievous mistake.  For not only are his compositions vastly more harmonically rich than virtually anything in this often hackneyed genre, but his keyboard skills are nothing short of astonishing.  (On this and other cuts, Mr. Johnson plays all the parts on his synthesizer, with the exception of occasional drum and conga accompaniment by Kendrick Freeman and vocals on a few of the tunes by a number of excellent singers.)
“Cruisin’ With Monk,” another Johnson original, perfectly captures the sly wit, devious harmonic sensibilities and idiosyncratic phrasing of the great pianist and composer to whom it pays homage.  He further demonstrates his affinity for our rich jazz heritage with his interpretation of “All the Things You Are,” where he employs a vibraphone sound on his synthesizer.
To my mind, the highlight of the album is the hypnotic and indescribably luscious “Little Ones,” a composition utilizing shifting modes and pentatonic scales that feel as if they arise directly from the depths of our subconscious.  Among the many tunes I wish I had written, “Little Ones” is right at the top of the list.
The album closes with “The Wall Street Rag,” a diabolically clever dissection of the financial meltdown featuring a terrific vocal by Craig Stull.  Among the lyrics:
“All we wants, the biggest market share,
Don’t care how we get it, don’t care how we get it,
All we really wants, to conquer the planet,
In the name of freedom,
We’ll wreck the party, get out of the way or die,
‘Cuz we’re here to stay…”
Throughout the album, Mr. Johnson displays a rock-solid grounding in traditional jazz, but he has forged such a distinctive individuality that he never sounds derivative.  It is indeed rare to encounter a truly original new voice in jazz, and rarer still to find one that makes such a contribution to our great jazz heritage.
But don’t take my word for it.  Check out Grant Johnson’s lightflyte for yourself.

I love this Album

Congratulations to Grant Johnson (Captain Fogg) Love the photo and acknowledgements, too.. From

the good time funk (but with a scary edge) of The Wall Street Rag to the dreamy Colors Of Fall, from the Latin fun of Seville to a

mellow Dreamflyte..Grant Johnson really takes us away into the power and beauty possible in jazz. a terrific musician with a unique

voice and varied musical landscapes…well worth the journey!

Jan Wahl, KRON TV and KCBS AM/FM, San Francisco

 

Inspiring!

These songs are amazing in so many ways! The variety of emotions they provoke is awesome: they inspire, soothe, and

stimulate. The Quest got me up and dancing this morning! The Wall Street Rag should be this year's theme song. I eagerly

await more from this artist. Thank you so much.

Lisa Miranda

 

Spectacular Album

by Umpyfour - Apr 25, 2012

Rarely have I come across a jazz composer/pianist of such stature as Grant Johnson. He has delivered a collection of

extraordinary original songs, such as jazz standouts Little Ones,Colors of Fall and Dreamflyte, among others that venture into the

hypnotic and interesting realms of modern dance music. Grant's arrangements are brilliant, and his piano/keyboard playing ranks

with the top players in jazz. Add to his originals, the beautiful renditions of My Foolish Heart and All the Things You Are, as

well as the whacky and oh-too-true Wall Street Rag--and I couldn't recommend this album more highly!

Sallee Lision

 

Cool and hot!

From the romantic "My Foolish Heart," to the biting wit of "The Wall Street Rag," this album is amazing! Do you want

gorgeous Latin infused sounds also? They're here. How about accessible melodic jazz? It's here too! Highly recommended.

Jacqueline Harris

 

Wow!

Piano monster Grant Johnson got it together and released an album of his music. We've been looking forward to this for 20 years.

There are a number of Sonoma County musicians on it and some of it was done at my studio, Zone Recording in Cotati. Check it out

and share the link. Lightflyte (Grant Johnson Is Captainfogg)

www.cdbaby.com Listen to and buy Grant Johnson music on CD Baby. Download Lightflyte (Grant Johnson Is Captainfogg) by Grant

Johnson on the independent record store by musicians for musicians.

Blair Hardman