That’s right, Jesse Johnson, originally from Morris Day and the Time, although he eventually moved onto a decent solo career. He sold more albums than you think (The Time put out three gold records and one platinum, Johnson added another platinum and two more gold records on his own), and plays harder than you think.
The Time considered themselves a rock bank which is perhaps a difficult classification, but there is no doubt Johnson is a rock player. He was used quietly at various live and studio performances for Prince and his associated acts, but my first hint that he was something special was his solo on “Get It Up.”
That is a hard rock lead. Modes and scales, different string techniques, post-Henderix tone, and lots of speed. My favorite thing about playing funk is that it allows you to play jazz chords with rock leads, and Johnson is one of the best examples of that. Johnson was a decent rhythm player, but his leads elevated the band. Its a shame more people don’t know him by name, but there were enough musicians that do for me to put him on the list.
Later on, he went to a rockier sound, which I will leave you with.