Jeff Johnson exudes an effervescent warmth from the bass. Utilizing both upright and electric, the Seattle veteran's approach is both intriguing and enticing. His latest for Origin Records, Suitcase, is a musical journal of sorts, with original pieces inspired by a career of travels and diverse experiences. Long-time collaborator Hans Teuber, who takes up saxophone, bass clarinet and alto flute on the session, is a sensitive interpreter who solos with tasteful reserve. Both him and Johnson come across as fearless and authoritative without being annoyingly demonstrative. Pianist Steve Moore and drummer Eric Eagle are impressively subtle throughout.
From the bold explorative nature of "Illuminati" to the soft intensity of "Letter for Marcy," to the airy swirls of "Avion," the music is inventive and flowing, with a rambling spirit.