After a run of three successful albums in the late Eighties, guitarist/composer Henry Johnson produced what he felt to be his best record to date. Titled New Beginnings, this album was Johnson's first for Seattle-based Heads Up.
Featuring special guest Freddie Hubbard, New Beginnings balances the funky flavor of such tracks as Johnson's "The Point" with stunning ballads like "Lushlife." Also included are the classics: Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone To Love," Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'" and "Tell Me A Bedtime Story," one of Johnson's favorite Herbie Hancock titles. Regardless of the context in which Johnson plays here - straight-ahead or contemporary - his silky sound and agility are solid links to the jazz guitar tradition. There's a Charlie Christian phrase here, a Grant Green voicing there, and quotes from Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.
Johnson on his not-so-new direction with New Beginnings: "I'm not trying to cross over into the pop market with very commercial slick-sounding arrangements. That's not where my head is at. The basis of all my records is always going to be improvization. I've seen guys try and cross over before and they're obviously uncomfortable with it. If you play something you don't really enjoy, it shows and people know it's fake. So I just do what I know is me."