It doesn’t take a great resume to make a notable, acclaimed album, but if it did, Cochemea Gastelum’s The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow would get five stars before the first listen.
The Brooklyn-based saxophonist’s resume includes performing or recording with a broad range of artists, from Sharon Jones & Dap Kings to Paul Simon to Public Enemy. However, on The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow, his solo debut co-produced by Adam Dorn (Mocean Worker), Gastelum creates a sound all his own, drawing from a broad swath of influences, including jazz, funk, salsa, and boogaloo. From the start, Johnny Arrow winds like the squiggly lines in Aqua Fresh, evident in the squishy funk of the album opening “Dark City.” Latin flavor meets a clean pallet on “Carlito,” and “Impala ‘73” is custom-made for low riding through the neighborhood. Gastelum’s forte is his versatility, and he shapeshifts with each compositions, keeping the mood fresh and the vibe cohesive.
Cochemea Gastelum has garnered a reputation through his sax playing, but this is only part of The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow. The most important element of the album is pure and simple: groove. Composition after composition, Gastelum finds the groove, wallows in it, then moves on to the next.
The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow is out now on MOWO! Inc.