Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero
Acoustic, Instrumental, Nuevo Flamenco, Jazzamenco
This album features an eclectic mix of acoustic and electric steel and nylon string guitars and guitar synthesizer multitracked by two outstanding guitarists.
Wayne Wesley Johnson and Ruben Romero merge their musical styles in a fashion that creates the new sound of "Jazzamenco". This is a CD by guitar lovers for guitar lovers.
Over 70,000 CDs have been sold by the duo in the past 2 years, and the CD has been aired on over 207 NPR and College radio stations.
They are joined occasionally by smooth jazz / new age saxophonist Rusty Crutcher.
Both Johnson and Romero have been performing on guitar since early childhood.
Romero, a New Mexican resident, is a veteran recording artist with over 20 CD releases to date. Originally beginning his guitar training in Spain, this virtuoso classical and flamenco style player is now considered responsible for the creation of the "Santa Fe Sound".
Johnson, formerly a drummer for guitar legend's, Les Paul and Nokie Edwards (The Ventures), has also had several of his own bands through the years including the Yellow Jackets and Sons & Lovers. Groomed as a flat picking jazz stylist, he later adapted to thumb and fingerstyle playing techniques having performed with Thom Bresh (Merle Travis'son)in Las Vegas, and in this CD debuts much of his nuevo flamenco or rumba flamenca techniques as well.
Johnson is a regular performer each year at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, where he is joined by many of the world's finest guitarists. Johnson refers to his technique and sound as "Jazzamenco".
This is the third release by the duo...
Flamenco Flavors (IAGO/Talking Taco) Flamenco Festival (Narada/Hallmark Music)
Read what they're saying about Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero!
Jazz at a Glance Volume 119
Featured Artist: Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero
CD Title: Hypnotic Safari Year: 2000 Record Label: Wannadu Productions Style: Flamenco / Contemporary Jazz Musicians: Wayne Wesley Johnson and Ruben Romero, guitars. Guest artist: Rusty Crutcher, saxophone.
Review: I have listened to HYPNOTIC SAFARI eight times and each time I discover something refreshingly new & creative in this unusual CD from Wayne Wesley Johnson and Ruben Romero. If you want to purchase something new and incredibly good, get a copy of this CD and if you can, purchase a copy for a close friend to enjoy, too!
There are 11 selections on this CD, each different and strikingly beautiful in concept and jazz motifs! Written by Johnson and Romero, this collection is sure to enchant jazz listeners who like the performances of master guitarists in topnotch form!
"Hypnotic Safari" has a playing time of 58:58 minutes, and is a lovely work of jazz. Closing out the collection at number 11 is an extended version of this song at 18:48 minutes.
Songs include the complex "Turquoise Jungle," "Autumn Wind," "La Gloria," "Entre dos Montanas" among others in this fine collection. Rusty Crutcher appears with saxophone on some of the selections and his performance on "Zamora" is outstanding and flawless. "Cathedral Bells" is a nice jazz piece destined for classic status for its direct approach and perfect jazz dimensions.
Everything about HYPNOTIC SAFARI is perfect. Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero have created something uniquely original. It is not often one comes across such an excellent collection as HYPNOTIC SAFARI featuring such gifted guitarists. If you like jazz guitar with an international flavor, you will enjoy this one.
Five stars! Excellent!
Record Label Website: http://www.wannadu.com
Reviewed by: Lee Prosser
REVIEW: CD REVOLUTIONS MAGAZINE
New World "Jazzamenco" is the terminology guitarists Wayne Wesley Johnson and Ruben Romero use to describe their music, a hybrid of jazz, classical, and fingerstyle techniques with a rumba rhythm. In their new album, Hypnotic Safari, the duo present a sophisticated collection of original compositions that showcases Johnson's fingerstylings and Romero's flamenco technique.
Wayne Wesley Johnson cites as his early influences such guitar greats as Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, and Duane Eddy. Initially a jazz style flat picking guitarist, he later picked up the Thumb-picking country style from his buddy Thom Bresh and the fingerstyle influences of Laurence Juber and others. The Latin sounds of Paco de Lucia and Ottmar Liebert led to his interest in Flamenco and his friendship with Ruben Romero. Romero, a Santa Fe native, studied flamenco in Spain and has appeared with the Denver Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, as well as having been the subject of a musical documentary on PBS called "Simple Treasures." He is considered one of the primary innovators of the "Santa Fe Sound." Both musicians are recognized among the world's top guitarists, and Hypnotic Safari is a virtuoso performance. If the cool, creamy sounds of Latin guitars light your fire, this is the album for you.
Amazon.com November 2000
A Full Five Stars Rating For This Flamenco Guitar CD !!, November 8, 2000 Reviewer: Irvin Goodman (see more about me) from U.S.A. (firstname.lastname@example.org) When I received this CD I sat on it for awhile, because I had several others I wanted to listen to first. I should have played this one FIRST. Hypnotic Safari is an exceptional work by some very talented musicians. I always liked flamenco guitar music, but this is the best I've ever heard. I truly enjoyed each track on the CD. Every song is super, and worth listening to over and over. If you're relaxing, reading the paper or working around the house, you can still enjoy this effort. If you've never tried flamenco guitar, try this CD. Believe me, it's infectious. Add it to your collection, you'll enjoy it!
A real winner!, November 3, 2000 Reviewer: Michael Woznicki (see more about me) from Holland, MA USA I have reviewed music before and the artist were of my choosing. When I was asked to review this album I wasn't sure of what to expect. After listening to the cd I must admit that there is real undiscovered talent in Wayne Wesley Johnson.This easy listening music extravaganza is simply some of the best music ever recorded and my only regret is that I did not get a chance to listen to it before. There is 60 minutes on 11 tracks that will both entertain and relax you at the same time.Simply amazing is all I can say about the way the music blend a Spanish mix with jazz and a little r&b. Johnson makes the music flow and before you know the 60 minutes is up and you'll find yourself replaying the cd over and over again.With a sound that is sure to please all lovers of music this album is first rate and loaded with the sounds that sooth. A sure fire winner and you have to hear it to believe it.
Truly hypnotic, Reviewer: Carolann Kapuscinski from Philadelphia, PA New age, jazz,and flamenco guitar - what a combination. It goes right to my soul. This type of music was new to me and an incredible surprise. I was captivated by it when I heard it playing in a retail store. I HAD to have it. It IS hypnotic. I play it when I need to unwind and escape my everyday frantic pace. It does mentally transport me elsewhere. I hope to find other music by this duo.
20th Century Guitar Magazine October 2000 by Robert Silverstein
WAYNE WESLEY JOHNSON & RUBEN ROMERO Hypnotic Safari (Wannadu)
Fans of acoustic-electric jazz, World music and the currently hot Nuevo Flamenco guitar craze should definitely check out the debut duo album from the guitarists Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero. Merging the finger-style performance and jazz guitar expertise of Johnson with the ultra-hot Flamenco guitar wizardry of Romero, Johnson & Romero have come up with an intriguing new sound they appropriately dub "Jazzamenco." Recorded last year in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Hypnotic Safari goes the distance with a musical palette of breezy instrumental guitar-based jazz and engaging World Music-inspired forays. Johnson and Romero employ multiple acoustic and electric guitars adding numerous shadings and timbres to their flawless performance. Reinforcing the full-bodied studio sound of the album are several gifted musical co-stars including Josef Martinez (Latin percussion), Ben Lucero (bass) and esteemed New Age composer Rusty Crutcher (sax). (editor.-Crutcher's many fine albums are also worth checking out). Additionally, Hypnotic Safari features gorgeous cover art and graphics, extensive technical track-by-track descriptions and bios of both Johnson and Romero. A rare meeting of two guitarists who, together reach a pinnacle of sound perfection, the 11 track CD flows effortlessly from beginning to end. Among the many highlights is the title track, a Johnson/Romero co-composition which opens the CD and which is revived again in a 19 minute extended play version. Spanning a wealth of guitar styles and musical genres, Hypnotic Safari is time well spent for guitar lovers of all persuasions.
This review appears in issue # 54 of IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION...
Wayne Wesley Johnson & Ruben Romero - HYPNOTIC SAFARI: This is a beautiful (guitar oriented) CD that holds true to the title... very laid-back (but high energy) musical journeys... Wayne & Ruben are clearly in love with the playing, & completely in tune with the rhythms they are exploring. Both acoustic & electric (& some guitar synthworks) from Wayne, with Ruben furnishing flamenco style guitars and keyboard synths. They are aided by bass from Ben Lucero, latin percussion by Joel Martinez & sax from Rusty Crutcher. Listeners who are looking for "out" music won't be attracted to this, as it stays pretty much within the patterns. That is NOT a bad thing for listeners who enjoy quality music with great energy... this is very satisfying music! It is very easy to (mentally) add the dancer with the castanets c licking as you listen to this. The flavor that is achieved is definitely Latino & their music easily inspires passion! I enjoyed this a great deal & give it a HIGHLY RECOMMEN ED for those who want a listening adventure that doesn't stray too far to the "outside". Contact at Wannadu Productions, POB 212, Oldwick, NJ 08858-0212, on the site at http://wannadu.com or via email to email@example.com
Guitar Nine Records
Guitarist Wayne Wesley Johnson created the "Nuevo Jazzamenco" sound with fellow guitarist Ruben Romero, and their newest collaboration, Hypnotic Safari, is a relaxing blend of smooth jazz melodies and Spanish Rumba Flamenca rhythms. The CD features an eclectic mix of acoustic and electric steel and nylon string guitars and guitar synthesizer recorded by the two outstanding guitarists. Listening to the eleven tracks on Hypnotic Safari you'll hear joy, excitement and soulfulness delivered with spirited performances. As New Age Voice Magazine remarked, "This is an album for guitar lovers, by guitar lovers..." Take a musical safari with Johnson and Romero - highly recommended.
"METAPHYSICAL REVIEWS" July 2000
The first time I heard Hypnotic Safari I jotted down the feelings it aroused. Energy, rhythm, flamenco style with a jazz beat, virtuosity and heart. Here is ambient music that lifts, elates, gratifies and satisfies.
Wayne Wesley Johnson has been playing guitar since he was nine, inspired by such notables as Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy and Wes Montgomery...to name a few. Originally trained as a jazz style, flatpicking guitarist, Wayne then expanded to include classical and then, thumb and finger style techniques. That was followed by Spanish and New Mexico flamenco which, when combined with his other disciplines, Wayne calls jazzamenco.
Santa Fe native Ruben Romero began studying flamenco guitar in Spain, at age eleven. He has over 17 albums recorded, and plays much of the music he writes himself. He is internationally regarded as a virtuoso, innovator, arranger, and composer.
Together, Johnson & Romero mesh like Gilbert and Sullivan, Les Paul and Mary Ford, and Rogers and Hammerstein. Each brings special talents to the duo which serve to emphasize, not detract from, the glory that is Hypnotic Safari. Indeed, it is my wish, that they record many more albums...and I am given the opportunity to review them.
Johnson & Romero have given us excitement, joy, merriment and heart gift wrapped in a package called Hypnotic Safari. Here is Spanish-New Mexican-rumba-flamenco music that is, all-at-once, toe-tapping and meditative. This reviewer says to Johnson and Romero...Do More!!
Richard Fuller, Senior Editor
New Age Voice Magazine NAV Review July 2000
When two guitarists collaborate on a set of tunes, you can get a very lively interplay between the rhythm and melody, with one musician usually holding the basic rhythm steady while the other solos. In the case of Johnson and Romero, they seem equally adept at playing either part. Both have played since childhood, Romero specializing in the Spanish and flamenco styles, Johnson jazz and pop, recently leading the Yellow Jackets before he became enamored of new flamenco styles. As a result, this album is definitely in the new flamenco camp. As is typical of this style, we hear percussion taking the place of castanets and footstomping, and an occasional sax accenting the proceedings. This is an album for guitar lovers, by guitar lovers, and there is a reltationship you get between two guitars that you just don't get between, say the guitar and sax or guitar and piano or bass. There is a tightness when you have two of the same that perhaps is only matched if you have two drummers. The feel of the whole album is bright, sunny, upbeat, the sort of mood lifter that has a high energy, summertime feel.-DL
Note: artist comment / correction ...Wayne Wesley Johnson wants to clarify that the Yellow Jackets is not the same Yellow Jackets as the current jazz group. Wayne's original band which performed between 1960-1969 was called the Yellow Jackets and later was changed to "Sons & Lovers" between 1969-1972, before Wayne began performing as a solo artist.
Review: Johnson & Romero Hypnotic Safari (Wannadu Records)
By Erik Deckers Indie-Music.com Intro/general thoughts: After a hectic day at work, or after being overloaded with a lot of loud, heavy music, I like to kick back with and relax with music that calms my jangled nerves, and doesn't require a lot of concentration to enjoy. Wayne Wesley Johnson and Ruben Romero's new album, "Hypnotic Safari," certainly fits the bill. These two extremely talented guitarists have produced nearly an hour of smooth, flamenco-style jazz they refer to as "nuevo flamenco" or "rumba flamenca." If you like smooth jazz, great guitar work, or are a fan of Spanish guitar music, "Hypnotic Safari" is a CD you need to listen to.
Type of Music: Smooth Jazz/Nuevo Flamenco/New Age
Hometown: Oldwick, New Jersey
Notable: Wayne Wesley Johnson has played guitar for several notable jazz artists, like Sandy DeVito and Eddie Berg, and even played drums for Les Paul (Les Paul said Johnson is "a fine guitarist. . . and fine drummer too." Johnson was even the leader of The Yellow Jackets, who I remember listening to back in high school.
Ruben Romero has been playing guitar since age 11. He has released over 17 albums, and played with other international musical stars, including Jesse Cook, Oscar Lopez, and Ottmar Liebert. And New Age label Narada has released two volumes that feature Romero's work, along with other guitar artists like Paco de Lucia and Al Di Meola.
Highs: "La Gloria" was one of my favorite tracks on the whole album, and one that really makes flamenco music accessible to casual or even new fans. The piece was originally written and recorded by Romero, and was recorded again for this album. The piece showcases the two different techniques of Johnson and Romero. However, my absolute favorite was "Caricias para la princesa" (Caresses for Princess Diana), a hauntingly beautiful and sad tune that was written by, and featured, Ruben Romero.
Lows: No joke, there really were no low points on the whole album. When you get musicians as experienced and talented as the...