Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clarence Johnson III Watch Him Work Like Father Like Son 2013

Clarence Johnson III breaks from tradition with Watch Him Work!

Sometimes you just don't mess with what is paying the bills. Having focused primarily on the more traditional straight ahead scene, Clarence Johnson III decided to share a piece of himself that had been running just below the surface. A mix of smooth jazz and what is billed as fusion finds Johnson banging out a mostly original set of tunes that...essentially goes no where. Are they bad? No...They are predictable and are perhaps the same R&B lite that you may have heard on just about every smooth jazz release that you own.

Covers..."Grazin' In The Grass" dies at about :10 seconds in. "The Way You Look Tonight" is a tune that should never be covered again and the incredibly tired funeral dirge turned in here would be the primary reason as to why some tunes should simply be off limits to those attempting smooth jazz. Clarence Johnson III can play and most any band would be blessed with him as a sideman or as an A list session player for perhaps their next release. As a leader, Watch Him Work comes in dead on arrival. Original compositions from Johnson show promise but little else.

In speaking with YellowJackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer he once told me if reference to critics, "Not everything sucks, everyone has something to offer."
I'll take the opposing point of view. Clarence Johnson III is a fine player, Watch Him Work is less than a fine release. This is everything that is horribly wrong with smooth jazz. The minimum investment by an artist in a release similar to this would be roughly ten large...Ouch. 

Tracks: Watch Him Work; Mamma's Prayer; Like Father Like Son; Cornerstone; Joy; Grazin' In The Grass; The Way You Look Tonight; Brian's Journey; Struttin'; Beyond Words.