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Alphonso Johnson

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Alphonso Johnson Moonshadows album cover
3.42 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stump (4:19)
2. Involuntary Bliss (6:08)
3. Cosmoba Place (6:18)
4. Pandora's Box (2:10)
5. Up from the Cellar (5:41)
6. Amarteifio (4:48)
7. On the Case (6:23)
8. Unto Thine Own Self Be True (5:14)

Total Time 41:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Alphonso Johnson / bass, vocals, Chapman Stick
- Ndugu Leon Chancler / drums
- Narada Michael Walden / drums, keyboards
- Chris Bond / guitar
- David Amaro / guitar
- Blackbird McKnight / guitar
- Lee Ritenour / guitar
- Patrice Rushen / keyboards
- Alphonse Mouzon / keyboards (Orchestron voice choir)
- Ian Underwood / keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Dawilli Gonga / keyboards, vocals
- Airto Moreira / percussion
- Alejandro Acuna / percussion
- Bennie Maupin / reeds
- Gary Bartz / soprano saxophone
- Flora Purim / vocals

Releases information

LP: Epic PE 34118 (US),
CD: Epic Records (Japan) 25-8P-5104

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy ALPHONSO JOHNSON Moonshadows Music

ALPHONSO JOHNSON Moonshadows ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (58%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ALPHONSO JOHNSON Moonshadows reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Debut solo album of one-time Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson is quite characteristic jazz fusion from mid-70-s. Strongly based on keyboards sound (Narada Michael Walden , Alphonse Mouzon and Ian Underwood all are presented on this recordings), there still is some place for Johnson bass and some guitars and percussion as well. Even vocals of Flora Purim is presented, but when I will say, that Airto Moreira and Alejandro Acuna both are percussionists there, and one of guitarists is Lee Ritenour, you can almost imagine, what the music is.

No, it is not pure Latin jazz, or even Latin fusion, but it is quite warm, soft light and relaxed jazz fusion with some pop-jazz or even disco elements. Johnson gave some funky groove to this music, but in fact bass is far from being important instrument there. Music is well balanced and comfortable jazzy mix, with some soul vocals and pop-moments. Happily, listener still can find few more serious and interesting moments here and there.

I believe this album could be good addition to jazz-funk fusion lover, but don't you try to find something experimental, new or just serious in this album. More music for your heart and feet, than for your head.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars First solo album from the ex-Weather Report bassist, group he left to work with Cobham, but he started recording his own solo albums, and Moonshadows is his first. Released in 76 on the Epic label, the album might have switched front and back cover illustrations (nit- picking, here), but Alphonso chose some mighty friends for his debut solo: Leon Chancler, Narada Walden, Alphonse Mouzon, Flora Purim, and hubby Airto Moreira, Bennie Maupin, Ian Underwood, just to name a few. Johnson was first a stand-up or contrabass player, but switched to electric bass and became one of the Chapman stick explorer and there is all three on this album.

Despite the many Latin-American players, this album is not as ethnic as you'd fear it to be, especially knowing that Johnson was still in WR's Black Market. You can't really label this album as jazz-funk either. It's probably best to describe it as fusion or jazz-fusion and in that regards, it's fairly typical of mid-70's album of that microcosm. Starting on a typical jazz-funk of Stump, the album moves quickly to a slow-starting Involuntarily Bliss and the music gradually picks up, only to return to the smooth gliding layers of the start of the track with Flora Purim's aerial scats. Not fascinating, but soothing. Cosmoba Place starts on a descending guitar riff, but it soon dissolves to make space for a piano ostinato, before the guitar returns in rock-fashion histrionics with excellent drumming (Walden I gather) before moving on to other delightful passages. Excellent stuff. Maupin's typical bass clarinet opens Pandora's Box over cymbal scratches, but there is little happening, besides a slow pedestrian bass.

Another funk-jazz track, Up From The Cellar, opens the flipside (which unlike the other is not all Johnson-penned) and you'd believe you're on a Mysterious Traveller album, if it wasn't for Purim's soft singing, Alphonso's ultra funk and technical bass being the centre of attention. Certainly the weak track on this album, IMHO. Amarteifio is a quiet and slow soft jazz that oozes boredom over sea waves. On The Case is the more essential track on this side, with a strong rock-like guitar over a Rhodes-led funk-rock with lots of bravura. The closing track is an ambitious (but flawed) uptempo jazz-rock piece that moves into different passages (some convincing, others less), but the pompous vocals ruin it partially.

An interesting album that shows Alphonso's greatest strengths AND weaknesses at the same time and has certainly not revolutionize the JR/F genre, but to those interested in WR? related works, Alphonso's first solo album is certainly worth putting an ear on it and even own it if he wants to consolidate his JR/F. Not essential or groundbreaking, but good enough to draw your attention, despite a few flaws, but personally I'll pass on it.

Latest members reviews

5 stars One Of The Most Underrated Fusion Albums Debut album of ex Weather Report member in 1976. This is very funky with some fiery playing even though it has some commercial moments with vocals. For me, this would be my favourite out of his three solo albums as it has some of the most beautiful engineeri ... (read more)

Report this review (#2968589) | Posted by JakeTheGuitar2004 | Monday, November 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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