Alphonso Johnson

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Blackbird, Sep 30, 2000.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    A lot of people talklk about Alphonso Johnson in other threads, but I think he is too great not to have a thread of his own, at least once, ergo, here it is.

    Does someone know why he left Weather Report? Alphonso keeps such a low profile (despite his website)that one hardly hears about him at all.

    Will C.:cool:
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I think I read somewhere that Alphonso left during Black market to do other things. I don't know if it had anything to do with Jaco telling Zawinul that he (Jaco) was the baddest bass player on the planet. I saw Alphonso play with Santana back in the late 80's, and whew--he was a mindblower on bass and Chapman Stick. Not just chops, but beautiful, moving, expressive musicianship. I haven't heard much of what he's done since then but I know he plays with Jazz Is Dead these days.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm not sure why AJ left Weather Report; I'm pretty sure he left on his own & not due to any pressure from Joe Z or Jaco.
    I think AJ put out some solo albums about that time(SPELLBOUND is one of them...they've been OOP for, like, forever). AJ also joined The Cobham/Duke Band(w/ Scofield)after his stint with Weather Report.
    I do have the live Montreaux Jazz Summit cds(from the '70s) with AJ's "Bahama Mama" tune!

    Couple years ago, Oteil Burbridge did a clinic at the Beach & Jazz Is Dead was also in town. Well, AJ shows up at 'Teil's clinic & both do their thing. AJ has a "different" way of positioning his plucking hand...his thumb is NOT anchored on any pickup or anywhere on the body. He essentially uses his thumb to mute the strings; he said that was from his studio days when absolute "quiet" playing was a must. He's also an URB'er that came over to the electric side.

    How 'bout hitting AJ's site & ask him to refresh our memory why he left WR...
  4. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I had one of AJ's first solo albums...might have been Spellbound. I got interested in it, because of his playing the Chapman Stick on it. I recall thouhg, that it was not his 'chops" that I appreciated most, but rather his phrasing, beautiful melodies, and overall musicianship.
    I have always felt that he sure get much more credit than he does.....and I sure wish I still had that record! :)
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    "Yesterdays Dreams", "Moonshadows" and "Spellpound" were the first AJ albums I bought waaaay back when. Still got them. AJ was my first big influence on fretless, along with Percy Jones later on. I still remember being told by Jeff Berlin that that wasn't true :D

    More melodic than most electric players of the day, I always enjoyed his slant on music and still do. Never chops for the sake of chops. I recall he was also on Lee Ritenour's "Captain Fingers" along with another favorite of mine, Anthony Jackson.

    Brad...putting the wayback machine back in the garage.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...dammit, Brad!
    Will they ever be re-issued...
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I don't know, Jim, but one of my 3,472,498 projects is to use Adaptec EasyCD to dump my albums to CD-R. One of these days....

    You'll love this:

    My neighbor stopped by today to tell me his wife got some LPs from her grandparents and they were thinking of donating them to Goodwill because they didn't really like that kind of music, so... would I like them? I say yeah, sight unseen. Just some Coltrane, Bird, Belafonte, Miles, Ella, Satchmo, BS&T, etc. Even an early Ramsey Lewis playing South American music. I must be living right :D

    I already have ~1500 LPs.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I still have my 1500+ LPs(too bad a lotta of them are some putrid '80s R&B; I bought the records for the band & did the taping back then; I had the day job!).
    ...I stopped counting when I hit 1500 cds.

    Speaking of re-issues, Paul Jackson's BLACK OCTOPUS & Mike Clark's ACTUAL PROOF have just been released domestically.
  9. Alienbass


    Aug 12, 2000
    I was at a GP's house today and he put on Neal Schlon (yeah, that one), I'm listening to the bass player of course, and know the style but can't recall the player. I look on the CD and it's AJ. The CD is killer BTW.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...was that the Abraxas cd? I had heard Neal Schon had put together a sorta pseudo-Santana "tribute" band w/ Alphonso on bass.
    BTW-Schon played in a very early incarnation of Santana when he was but 17(I think the first record was the Santana/Buddy Miles LIVE in some volcano album from about '70-'71?).
  11. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Abraxas did release one album a few years ago, it was the
    original Santana band with Alphonso on bass instead of the
    late David Brown. It was a good album, but is sadley out
    of print. I think Chepito had to go to jail for somthing or
    another. Jim K..... didn't the montraux [sp] summit album
    rule? I still love Alphonso's solo on "Blues March", it sounded like he was playing on rubber bands.
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I hadda listen to "Blues March" when I got home to refresh my memory...
    Was AJ using a foam mute to get that tone? ...soumds like it. Too, the first few choruses of "Blues March"(kinda in a shuffle feel)sounded as though the guys were still feeling each other out; A couple times, it sounded as though it was gonna fall apart. When the band kicks into that fast swing...whew! Awesome!
  13. Swerve


    Nov 22, 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    He's also got some good free lessons on his website, check it out, though I need to work on my sight reading, because most of it isn't in tab form :smug:
  14. lambro


    Jun 1, 2004
    great player & very nice guy, seen him in San Fran several times

    Moonshadows has a great vibe to it and really hollistic sounds
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
  16. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    Alphonso doesn't get the credit he deserves, in my opinion. As a matter of fact, on the back cover on Weather Report's Black Market CD/LP, Jaco is in the photograph-but Alphonso is playing on most of the tracks!!!! I saw a photo somewhere of Alphonso giving pointers to the new bassist who was going to replace him when he left Billy Paul's band. The new bassist was Anthony Jackson!!!!

    Much props to Alphonso Johnson!!!

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  17. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I mention this in almost every thread about Alphonso, so I'll do it again[;)] Alphonso was my favorite bassist in Weather Report, and I'm a huge fan of Jaco.
  18. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I feel the same way. "Mysterious Traveller" is the only WR album that I listen to with any regularity.
  19. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    My favorite Weather Report album as well! Blackthorn Rose is one of my favorite WR songs and it doesn't even have any bass on it. I always wished Wayne & Joe did a duets album.
  20. NickBass81


    Jul 4, 2008
    Endorsing Bulkmusic Strings
    Probably I've already said that on another thread, but I'll repeat myself....:p I absolutely love AJ's playing!!!
    He really speaks to me when he of my favorites was "passages" by Frank Gambale, and there is playing perfectly works for the songs without being flashy but just perfect for the music...killer stuff also on the Tom Coster albums ("Let's Set The Record Straight" and "The Forbidden Zone") and also George Duke's "The Aura Will Prevail", which I think was one of AJ's first recordings (1975??)...just last day I taught to one of my pupils "Herandnu"...he thought it was Jaco...
    I red on his myspace that AJ's been ill, hope he's recovering well...also, a few months ago I asked him a couple of things on his website, and he was a real gentleman and asked after a few days...