James Louis Johnson, 22 January 1924, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, d. 4 February 2001, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Johnson originally studied piano and baritone saxophone, before taking up the trombone at the age of 14. By the time he was 18 years old, he had performed professionally with various territory bands, before joining the band of the great swing altoist Benny Carter. Johnson was with Carter for three years during which period he also worked with Jazz At The Philharmonic. In the mid-40s he was briefly with Count Basie and Illinois Jacquet, and for the rest of the decade was active in small bebop groups in New York. His astonishing slide technique soon attracted attention, with many listeners convinced he was playing a valve trombone. In the early 50s Johnson joined Oscar Pettiford but then was forced to earn a living outside music as a blueprint inspector for Sperry Gyroscope. In 1954 he returned to the jazz scene and immediately attracted widespread...
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