Joe Johnson Bio
“There should be some type of bridge built between contemporary jazz lovers and fans of Hip-Hop and R&B music” says international jazz saxophone sensation Joe Johnson and nowhere is that belief more evident than on “Life of the Party” his latest smooth jazz release from YASNY Labels Group. It is an amazing CD overflowing with hard-hitting urban grooves, soulful slow jams, and funky smooth jazz interpretations of some of Hip-Hop and R&B’s greatest hits.
Joe started on the road that would lead him to jazz distinction at an early age in Memphis,Tn where he played in his high schools music program and his family’s church choir. Raised on R&B, Gospel Music and Memphis Blues , Johnson attributes his high school band director Emerson Able, for steering him in the right musical direction. “Mr. Able made sure that I was well prepared musically to face the world and never let me suffer from any delusions of grandeur”. Joe’s early musical influences were Charlie Parker , Hank Crawford, David Sanborn, Grover Washington, and Kirk Whalum. After receiving a music scholarship and attending Tennessee State University, he soon realized that some of the “world’s best music was being made right at his doorsteps.” There was no reason to leave Nashville because everyone was coming here to record,” says Joe.
Johnson’s mastery of the saxophone continued to evolve in Nashville where he worked as a studio session player during the day and at night played R&B and smooth jazz in some of the U.S.A.’s must illustrious nightspots. Even though Johnson is only in his mid thirties he has amassed an extremely impressive resume and list of musical accomplishments that combine both commercial and jingle work with recording sessions and live concert dates. Joe has played on more than 400 commercial and jingle dates working for major clients such as Target, Ford Motor Company, Budwiser Beers, Taco Bell, Coke, and Mattel Toys just to name a few. He has opened national concerts for or shared the stage with a “Who’s Who” of musical mega stars such as: Areatha Franklin, Anita Baker, Sade, Vanessa Williams, Gerald Levert, Jamie Foxx, KEM, Roy Ayers, Boney James, Phil Perry, Melissa Morgan, Doc Powell, Will Downing, Take 6, Donald Byrd, Cameo, Kim Waters, Phil Perry, Miles Jaye, Alex Bugnon, Kirk and Kevin Whalum, Peabo Bryson, Gearld Veasely, Angela Bowfill, the O’Jays, Barbara Mandrell, Howard Hewitt, Kindred, Karen Briggs, American Idols Kimberly Locke, Dr. Bobby Jones, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and a host of others. Most recently Johnson was included in gospel music videos for top selling artist Smokie Norful and Donald Lawrence and just completed a cross country arena tour playing for sold out audiences nation wide with Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, and Yolanda Adams on the gospel extravaganza “Hopeville”.
Johnson demonstrates a dazzling facility with both Jazz and R&B idioms on “Life of the Party”. “I think that the listener can appreciate that this release has a little something for everyone on it”. From the funky head bobbing opening piece “Juke Joints and Jams” , to that satin like sound of “My Life” ( Everybody Loves the Sunshine), or the laid back Neo Soul lounge vibe of “Didn’t Ya Know”, “Life of the Party” captures some of Johnson’s most evocative and resonate musical moods. It is a “must have” for any music lovers collection.