Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson - ©

born on 7/8/1941 in Montgomery, AL, United States

died on 11/1/2021 in New York City, NY, United States

Howard Johnson (jazz musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Howard Lewis Johnson (born August 7, 1941) in Montgomery, Alabama, is an American jazz musician known mainly for his work on tuba and baritone saxophone, although he also plays the bass clarinet, trumpet and other reed instruments.[1]

Johnson has accompanied George Gruntz extensively. As a leader, he released three albums during the 1990s for Verve Records, the first Arrival, a tribute to Pharoah Sanders.


In the 1960s he worked with Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Archie Shepp, and Hank Mobley on the album A Slice of the Top. He also began a long association with Gil Evans in 1966. He was arranger of a horn section that backed Taj Mahal on Mahal's 1971 live album, The Real Thing, which featured three other tubists/multi-instrumentalists, Bob Stewart, Joseph Daley and Earl McIntyre. Johnson also played with The Band on their Rock of Ages live album, The Last Waltz and into the late 2000s with The Band drummer, Levon Helm's Band. During the 1970s, Howard led the Saturday Night Live Band.

He has also led three tuba bands, collaborated with Tomasz Stanko, Substructure, Tuba Libre and GRAVITY, perhaps his best known band. He has recorded frequently.

In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio.

He had a minor role in the 1983 film, Eddie and the Cruisers as Wendell's replacement. He has also appeared in episodes of Matlock and Hill Street Blues.

Howard Johnson has two grown children, David and Nedra. David (1964-2009) was an actor in New York, and lived in Brooklyn. Nedra is an accomplished and respected blues singer and musician.


As leader

  • 1994: Arrival: A Pharoah Sanders Tribute (Verve)
  • 1995: Gravity!!! (Verve)
  • 1998: Right Now (Verve)

As sideman

  • Chet Baker: But Not For Me(Random Chance Records, 2003)
  • The Band: Rock of Ages (Capitol, 1972)
  • The Band, The Last Waltz (Capitol, 1978)
  • The Band, High on the Hog (Rhino, 1996)
  • Gato Barbieri: Chapter Three: Viva Emiliano Zapata (Impulse!, 1974), Chapter Four: Alive in New York (Impulse!, 1975)
  • Carla Bley: Tropic Appetites (Watt, 197374), Escalator over the Hill
  • Gary Burton: A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA, 196768)
  • Miles Davis: Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (Warner, 1991)
  • Jack De Johnette Special Edition: Album Album (ECM, 1984)
  • Barbara Dennerlein: Junkadoo (Verve 1996)
  • Gil Evans: Svengali (ACT, 1973), The Honey Man (Newtone), There Comes a Time (RCA, 1975)
  • Dexter Gordon: Sophisticated Giant (Columbia, 1977)
  • Charlie Haden: Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse, 1968)
  • Andrew Hill: Passing Ships (Blue Note, 1969)
  • Jimmy Heath: New Picture (Landmark, 1985)
  • Jazz Composers Orchestra: Communications (JCOA, 1968)
  • Clifford Jordan: Inward Fire (Muse, 1978)
  • John Lennon, Walls and Bridges (Apple, 1974)
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy (Capitol, 1980)
  • Taj Mahal (Columbia, 1971), The Real Thing
  • Charles Mingus: Music Written for Monterey 1965 (Jazz Workshop, 1965), Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert (Columbia, 1972), Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia, 1972)
  • NDR Big Band: Bravissimo (ACT 1992)
  • Jaco Pastorius: Jaco Pastorius (Sony, 1975), Word of Mouth (Warner, 1981)
  • Sam Rivers: Crystals (Impulse! 1974)
  • John Scofield: Quiet (Verve, 1996)
  • Archie Shepp: Mama Too Tight (Impulse!, 1966)
  • Gábor Szabó & Bob Thiele: Light My Fire (Impulse!, 1967)
  • James Taylor: "Jellyman Kelly" (Sesame Street, 1980) [2]

With George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band

  • The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band with Guest Star Elvin Jones (MPS, 1978)
  • At Zürich Schauspielhaus (Kenwood, 1981, erschienen 1984)
  • Live 82 (Amiga, 1982)
  • Theatre (ECM, 1983)
  • Happening Now! (Hat Hut, 1987)
  • First Prize (Enja, 1989)
  • Blues ´n´ Dues et Cetera (Enja, 1991)
  • Beyond Another Wall (TCB, 1991)
  • Ray Anderson & The George Gruntz Big Band (Gramavision, 1994)


  1. [Howard Johnson (jazz musician) at All Music Guide Allmusic biography]
  2. Jellyman Kelly performance

External links

  • Howard's Facebook page
  • Official Howard Johnson site
  • Official Nedra Johnson site
This page was last modified 16.04.2014 07:10:08

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