Albert J. Johnson, 14 December 1910, Dallas, Texas, USA, d. 20 October 1984, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Before taking up the tenor saxophone Johnson had earlier played piano and drums. In his teens he performed in a number of territory bands in the Midwest and in Texas, including those led by Terrence Holder, Jesse Stone and George E. Lee. In the mid-30s he worked in Chicago, playing in several bands, most notably, Louis Armstrongs, but was most often with Earl Hines. In the 40s he played in units led by Hines, Don Redman, Al Sears, Sy Oliver and Dizzy Gillespie. During these years Johnson was also a busy arranger, providing charts for the bands of Georgie Auld, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and Boyd Raeburn. Johnson was deeply involved in the early days of bebop, writing for numerous small groups and acting as musical director for Billy Eckstines big band.
During the 50s Johnson often led his own small groups for club and record...