All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Richard Leo Johnson

Richard Leo Johnson Richard Leo Johnson

The Legend of Vernon McAlister, Richard Leo Johnson's newest recording on Cuneiform, is an astonishing and magical release �” a sort of acoustic guitar equivalent to the classic Lewis Carroll novel, Alice in Wonderland. Early in the 21st C., Johnson's neighbor in Savannah, GA introduced him to a mildewed National Duolian steel-bodied guitar, dating from the early 1930s. Also called a resonator guitar because its uniquely shaped, steel body self-amplified or resonated sound, the Duolian was a mass-produced, inexpensive, and road-worthy instrument popular among blues, jazz, Hawaiian musicians who worked roadside taverns in the Depression years. Previously, Johnson had used a variety of finely-made, modern guitars �” most notably an 18-string, custom made, double-necked McCullum �” to express his fleet-fingered, idiosyncratic and highly innovative style. But as soon as he heard the Duolian, and discovered the name “Vernon McAlister” crudely scratched into its side, Johnson tumbled deep inside the resonator's web, just as Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole. The Legend of Vernon McAlister was born, resulting in an all-instrumental CD that can serve as soundtrack or ‘aural' history to a written tale (readable on vernonmcalister.com). It is perhaps the best and most certainly the most imaginative project that this highly imaginative guitarist has ever done.

Read more

Tags

Album Reviews
Read more articles
”(Johnson) developed a whole lexicon of expression on the instrument that defies conventional wisdom... It's the calling card of an intuitive genius.” --Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times

”...the most innovative guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. Johnson is a one man guitar orchestra.” --Vic Garbarini, Playboy

Albums by Richard Leo Johnson

 

Who Knew Charlie Shoe?

Cuneiform Records
2008

buy
Album Who Knew Charlie Shoe? by Richard Leo Johnson

Who Knew Charlie Shoe?

Cuneiform Records
2007

buy
Album The Legend of Vernon McAlister by Richard Leo Johnson

The Legend of Vernon...

Cuneiform Records
2006

buy
Album Poetry of Appliance by Richard Leo Johnson

Poetry of Appliance

Cuneiform Records
2004

buy
Album Fingertip Ship by Richard Leo Johnson

Fingertip Ship

Metro Blue
2003

buy
Album Language by Richard Leo Johnson

Language

Blue Note Records
2003

buy

Watch

Similar Jazz Musicians

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.