Reggie Washington Casts a Rainbow Shadow on the Jazz World with his Tribute Album to Jef Lee Johnson

Featured Image courtesy of the Artist

What do you do after your friend leaves this world without gaining the love and success that he deserved? You share the legend.

Reggie Washington is releasing a tribute album, Rainbow Shadow: A Tribute to Jef Lee Johnson Vol. 1, on June 1 to commemorate and celebrate Jef, one of the world’s most talented musicians, yet an unrecognized genius. The album features performances by Marvin Sewell, DJ Grazzhoppa, and Patrick Dorcéan, with special guests Wallace Roney, Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Alex Tassel, Chico Huff, Dana Leong, Lili Anel, Jonathan Crayford, Yohannes Tona, Monique Harcum, and Tiboo. These talented artists collaborated on the project to ensure that, although Jef has left this world, his music and stylistic influence will continue to impact the jazz world and the music industry for years to come.

Photo 1 Jef credit Devon O'Connor

Photo of Jef by Devon O’Connor

Jef Lee Johnson, a Philly native, was a musician’s musician, playing with everyone from Rachelle Ferrell to Prince. A short list of other musicians he worked with includes Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, D’Angelo, Esperanza Spalding, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Jeff Beck, Mariah Carey, The Roots, Al Jarreau, and Billy Joel. Jef called himself “Rainbow Crow,” a nod to the Lenape Native-American legend of the crow that saved his friends, but in the process blackened his feathers, resulting in plumage that reflected all colors. Jef, however, became a hero in his own right. He was one of the greatest guitar players of all time, and his musicianship extended to 12 CDs of his own, in addition to his numerous collaborations. He became known as a respected session guitarist/bassist within the music industry, but what Jef had always wanted was for his own music to be shared with the world. Now that he has passed away, his friends are determined to do just that.

Photo 2 Reggie credit David Crunelle

Photo of Reggie by David Crunelle

Reggie Washington is a renowned jazz musician who, in addition to performing with Jef, has worked with Steve Coleman, Roy Hargrove, Cassandra Wilson, and Ronald Shannon Jackson, among many others. Reggie and Jef became good friends and created incredible contributions to the modern jazz movement together. Now, Reggie’s new album exemplifies just how far their impact has reached. The musicianship on the record is simply staggering, and Reggie’s expressive bass lines become the vocals of each track, singing out melodic riffs that hit hard and hook. Some songs even feature samples of Jef’s guitar playing and clips of his voice. Overall, the album is woven together with the sound of crows calling out, sporadically bringing the listener back to the purpose of the tribute, the memory of the legendary Jef Lee Johnson.

You can order Rainbow Shadow: A Tribute to Jef Lee Johnson Vol. 1 via or as of June 1.

Photo 3 Reggie credit Yann Cabello

Photo by Yann Cabello

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