Marc Johnson was born in Nebraska in 1953, and he grew up in Texas. By age 19, he was working professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony, and while at North Texas State University, he played & recorded with fellow student Lyle Mays. After graduating he toured & recorded with Woody Herman, before becoming, at the age of 25, the bassist with the Bill Evans Trio, following in the footsteps of masterful players including Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock and Eddie Gomez. Mr. Johnson’s many recording credits since then include discs with Michael Brecker, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Eliane Elias, Peter Erskine, Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Ben Monder, Paul Motian, Enrico Pieranunzi, & Wolfgang Muthspiel, among other visionaries. His first ECM recordings were with his own Bass Desires quartet, who released 2 important albums, Bass Desires & Second Sight. The bassist subsequently recorded for the label as a member of John Abercrombie’s trio and appears on the guitarist’s discs including Cat’n’Mouse & Class Trip. He has also contributed to ECM albums by guitarist Ralph Towner (Lost and Found), pianist John Taylor (Rosslyn), saxophonist Charles Lloyd (Lift Every Voice) and bandoneón master Dino Saluzzi (Cité de la Musique). Leader dates have included Shades of Jade and Swept Away – both featuring Eliane Elias, Joe Lovano, & Joey Baron, with John Scofield also appearing on Shades. Overpass, recorded in January and February 2018 at Nacena Studios, in São Paulo, was produced by Marc & Eliane Elias and is set to be released on 8/27 on ECM Records. With Overpass, recorded in Brazil in 2018, Mr. Johnson makes a decisive & intriguing contribution to ECM’s solo bass recordings. It is an album that takes note of that tradition and Marc has said that Dave Holland’s Emerald Tears was among the solo recordings that fired his imagination almost half a century ago and builds upon it in a personal & imaginative way.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Mr. Johnson about some of the ins and outs of the new album, Overpass. We dissect a couple of the tunes to get that feeling of being inside the music, as well as the process by which the album was put toGether. A Solo double bass album, this music while some may be familiar by name, provides me, as a listener and a sharer a chance to see/hear….feel the same differently. I invite you into that same feeling by checking out our conversation, but also by finding the tunes on this album, that do the same for you.