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Alphonso Johnson

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Alphonso Johnson Yesterday's Dreams album cover
3.37 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1 Love's The Way I Feel 'Bout Cha
A2 As Little As You
A3 Scapegoat
A4 Show Us The Way
B1 Balls To The Wall
B2 Tales Of Barcelona
B3 Flight To Hampstead Heath
B4 One To One

Line-up / Musicians

Bells [Orchestra], Marimba, Vibraphone - Ruth Underwood
Congas, Percussion - Sheila Escovedo
Drums - Chester Thompson , Mike Clark
Guitar [Acoustic, Electric] - Lee Ritenour
Guitar [Electric] - Ray Gomez
Keyboards - Patrice Rushen
Organ - David Foster , Mark Jordan
Saxophone [Baritone], Flute - Ernie Fields
Saxophone [Tenor] - Ernie Watts , Grover Washington, Jr.
Synthesizer - Ian Underwood
Trombone - Garnett Brown , George Bohannon
Trumpet - Chuck Findley
Trumpet, Flugelhorn - Gary Grant
Vocals - Diane Reeves , Jon Lucien , Phillip Bailey
Vocals, Bass, Guitar [Acoustic] - Alphonso Johnson

Releases information

LP: Epic PE 34364 (US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
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ALPHONSO JOHNSON Yesterday's Dreams ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ALPHONSO JOHNSON Yesterday's Dreams reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Second album from the (not yet) ex-Weather Report bassist, released the same year as his debut solo effort, but this time, the guest list is a little less stellar (prog-wise anyway) where only Lee Ritenour and Ian Underwood return and an appearance from Chester Thompson (the drummer). Graced with an interesting artwork (pre-figuring the future Journey album artworks in a few years) released on Epic, the album contains 8 songs all written by Alphonso himself, except for the album opening and closing tracks, which are collective efforts. This a typical mid-70's musical industry made in LA, so don't get your hopes up to high is the best advice I can give you.

A bit like the previous album, the musical direction point to every corner of the map, and of course this is not to please demanding progheads. There are some soul-funk tracks (the opening The Way I Feel and Show Us The Way) and generally these are the ones I really tend to skip to avoid self-aggravation. Don't get me wrong, they're probably just fine for the listener Alphonso was aiming at, but I have dumb love songs and commercial attempts (successful or not) There are some technical/complex and generally instrumental funk tracks with jazz overtones (As Little As You, Scapegoat, Balls To The Wall) that are actually fairly impressive (and generally better appreciated by yours truly), but I find that Chic did those a whole lot better, but there is again some cool developments in these, especially from Grover Washington's sax.

Alphonso's ultra-funky bass of course dictates the style of music, to the point that those non-funk ones lose a little credibility: the love-dripping Show Us The Way with its Barry White-like baritone vocals), even if it could find its place as a prog interlude on a Camel album, but without the vocals. Balls To The Wall is probably the album's most "most" moment of the album (no surprises if you look at the best possible combination from the invited participants), sounding close to a good Return To Forever. Tales Of Barcelona has a slightly proggy Santana sound (circa Illuminations or Borboletta)and serves of an intro to Flight To Hampstead, which is also in a jazz-rock template, gradually growing to Zappa-like music towards its end, courtesy of a Underwood-iam xylophone. The closing funk-jazz One To One is worthy of a mention as well.

A bit better than Moonshadows, but certainly not more essential (unless you're a funk addict) and certainly hundred of albums are better suited to fill a proghead's shelves. Good musicianship and professional recording & production make this a good album, especially the B-side), but not much more. I'm glad I have my library system to listen to such albums, should I ever feel like re-listening to them. Actually by taking all three of his 70's albums, you could probably cook up a solid compilation.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Alphonso Johnson was one of the most known bassists from the mid '70's his contribution to the band he plays 3 years Weather Report is no doubt an important one. In WR period when still was a member he release 3 albums 2 in 1976 and one in 1977. His second solo effort from 1976 named Yesterday's dream is a collection of jazz fusion with funky moments. The album is ok, but nothing really is groundbreaking here even there are a bunch of well known musicins involved in this release. Besides great Chester Thompson on drums, Ian Underwood on keybords, the rest of the musicians are more or less known to me. The music is clearly jazz fusion funky orientated where the bass of Alphonso make the law, great chops quite complictaed but melted with the rest of the instrumenta the result is pretty ok. Most of the album is instrumental with copuple of ocasions where the pieces has voice like on Show Us The Way. So all in all an ok album, nothing spectacular in my opinion, it sounds like many album s from that period in jazz fusion realm, those more funky orientated but not a bad one. Alphonso Johnson remain an important bassist in this genre and that shown by the great number of appearences in many band or artist albums over the years. 3 stars, good but nothing more.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Former Weather Report bassist has definitely oriented himself toward pop music and the popular melodic disco-funk world now despite the remarkable variety of song styles represented here.

A1. "Love's The Way I Feel 'Bout Cha" (4:43) jazz pop from Philip Bailey with wonderful vocals from Diane Reeves. Nice bass play as well. A rather powerful song that should have charted as a single on the R&B or Dance charts. (9/10)

A2. "As Little As You" (3:23) a funky instrumental (8.75/10)

A3. "Scapegoat" (5:10) an upbeat disco-funky instrumental over which lyrical saxes perform. We're definitely in the world of Smooth Jazz now. Great funk bass, sax play (from both Grover Washington, Jr. and Ernie Watts), and use of brass section for accents. A top three for me despite the fact that it never really realizes its tremendous potential. (8.875/10)

A4. "Show Us The Way" (4:55) beautiful gentle electric guitar arpeggi provide all the support necessary to buoy the gorgeous deep vocals of jazz singer Jon Lucien. A top three song. (9/10)

B1. "Balls To The Wall" (5:00) opens for 30-seconds like a heavy metal/power rock song with Ray Gomez's electric guitar and Alphonso's power chords and Chester Thompson's racing drum play before turning Mahavishnu funk. From here out everyone is so tight keeping up with Chester and Alphonso. Another top three song for me. (8.875/10)

B2. "Tales Of Barcelona" (2:16) interesting Mahavishnu-like power prayer. (4.5/5)

B3. "Flight To Hampstead Heath" (5:55) opens with a very proggy harpsichord-like arpeggi track over which Alphonso solos with a fretless electric bass. Ruth Underwood's work is so perfect! As is the amazing chemistry between Alphonso and Chester Thompson. My favorite song on the album despite it being far more prog-rock than j-r fusion-- more like something from a NOVA or STEVE HACKETT album. (9.25/10)

B4. "One To One" (3:53) another funk track that feels like something between Jan Hammer and Weather Report. Lots of spice and hot sauce coming from all directions--especially the horn section but also from Alphonso, the guitar, keys, and percussion. Nice Fender Rhodes solo in the second minute. Ray Gomez gets the next solo and it's good though far more rock-oriented than prog or j-r fuse; he's definitely a master of sound clarity. Alphonse's Jaco-like interplay with the horn section in the final minute is cool. Solid. (9/10)

Total Time 35:14

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of eclectic jazz-infused music, pop to funk to j-r fuse to prog: it's all here!

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