“Johnny Fourie is one of the greatest guitar players of our epoque”
John Mc Laughlin
ONCE UPON A TIME -Recorded in 2003 as chronic emphysema took its toll on Johnny’s lungs and stamina, one detects an element of peace and dignified acceptance that this music may be a swansong of sorts. The pieces are bathed in a gorgeous dappled light. There is an ego-free, unhurried respect for the composition in each change and modulation. Some notes are attacked and others caressed over waves of rich, layered harmony, which often suggest or conjure up mirages of chords that seem audible, yet are not actually played. And always, there is the immaculate note selection breathing fresh vitality into the venerable tunes.
Absorb the mood of track 12, Love Letters. The genius of Johnny’s interpretation (inspired by Clause Ogerman) is in taking what might well be considered a sweet, possibly trite ballad by the master pianist/ vocalist Nat King Cole, and producing a compelling, emotional tone poem. Yet nothing is lost of the Hayman- Young melody. Essence and embellishment are united.
Hearing Unforgettable (track 2) for the first time, one becomes acutely aware of the unhurried tempo and the apparent presence of vibraphone on the track. Like a vast, slow moving river, the melody reveals itself whilst crystal-pure solo passages sketch just how deep the river is – and how teeming with abundant life. There are no scales and no clichés on this record my friend.