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Marcus Johnson: Just Doing What I Do

Keyboardist Marcus Johnson brings his urban-inflected musical sensibility to bear on a series of mostly laid-back tunes on Just Doing What I Do (Three Keys). The title track establishes the cool vibe, and tracks like “I Wanna,” “Enigma,” and the R&B vocal ballad “Love” set a romantic mood. The album isn’t entirely downtempo, however; the buoyant “Just to Get By” offers jumpy piano, staccato sax and keyboard effects, while “Same Thang” is a hip-hop-soul vocal number. The album succeeds as a mood-setter, but many of the instrumental tunes lack strong melodies-a deficiency that is most noticeable when Johnson gets to dig into a tune that does have a strong melody, namely Alica Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Interspersed throughout Just Doing What I Do are interview snippets, in which Johnson offers his take on male sensitivity and gets in a plug for his label, Three Keys.

Originally Published