Local CD Review: Johnson Swingtet

Johnson Swingtet

An anomaly among Knoxville bands, even in Knoxville’s jazz scene, the Johnson Swingtet sticks to a catalog of strictly pre-World War II jazz on its self-titled debut CD. Several of the songs on the disc—”Heavy Artillery,” “Djangology,” the live rendition of “Oriental Shuffle”—come directly from the legendary Belgian guitar innovator Django Reinhardt, and the four-piece combo holds its own against such august precedents. Guitarist (and occasional vocalist) Brandon “Eugene” Johnson and bassists Andy Breyton and Brandon Beavers hold down the gently swinging rhythms (Breyton and Beavers double on cello and mandolin, respectively) while lead guitarist Kukuly Uriarte wrings supple melody from Reinhardt’s compositions.

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