Americans by Scott Johnson, Tzadik, 2010

“Americans all look the same to me, same to me…”


Americans is Scott Johnson’s new album for the prestigious Tzadik, John Zorn project. A new record that adds new chapters to his personal adventure as investigator and composer in between contemporary atmosphere and pop and rock influences and where the electric guitar plays a leading role is with a score like “Bowery Haunt” played togheter with young American guitarist / composer contemporary named Mark Dancigers, and in other passages where it is providing its support in an ensemble. A record very different than “John Somebody” where prevailed the influences of the first American minimalism. Here Scott Johnson seems to have directed his attention to rock music, but always keeping the focus on the vocal samplers as in the music of “Americans” that gives the name to the record where the music is built around recordings of voices of immigrants in United States from China, Romania and Afghanistan. Here we can breath in general more attention to the sound ensemble, where the guitar plays with the other instruments, at times his music reminds me of the odd times of Zappa records as Jazz from Hell or Hot Rats, or things of King Crimson’s progressive after “Discipline,” Johnson seems to have decided to retrace the path of composers such as Bela Bartok: using popular music, rock in this case, to extract compositional elements that he can rework into new forms of contemporary music, to play with new prototypes to create an avant-garde music yes, but at the same time connected and not separate from society and our times, a music where you can listen to the new but always remaining with the suspension of those who, occasionally, here and there captures nuances, ideas already known as part of our personal luggage. Welcome back Mr. Johnson, this is a really great record! Just a personal quote: I’m very glad to listen to one of my favourite bass player, Mr. Kermit Driscoll