Originally published in Earshot Jazz June 2012
Jeff Johnson does not typically plot lines of bass notes on each beat. No. He’s a musical surfer dude. Atop his fingerboard, he scans musical swells – open to possibilities, sensing movement. When the Zen is right, he fearlessly carves melodies in breaking sound waves. Leaning forward. Cutting left. Gliding. Dancing in the spray. With equal measure of instinct and intellect, it appears easy. In sync, in sound, inside the music.
This balance comes from a life of no regrets. Pursuing his muse, Johnson faced down demons that haunt pioneering artists. “You could say I’ve explored as far out in the universe as I could go,” says Johnson. The quest becomes music. “I want to hear searching.”