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About Jeff Johnson

Born in Minneapolis, Jeff Johnson ("Free" to some of his colleagues) left his hometown at the ripe, impressionable age of 20. While spending time in Philadelphia and New York, he worked with several well-known musicians, including Philly Joe Jones, Charlie Rouse, Barney Kessel, Chet Baker, Lew Tabackin, Eddie Daniels, Mark Murphy, and several others. His career was significantly affected when he met pianists Jessica Williams in Seattle in 1991, and Hal Galper at the 1993 Port Townsend Festival. With these outstanding keyboard virtuosos, Johnson has established a continuing musical relationship. He was Williams' bass player on six albums cut between 1994 and 1996, and worked with Hal Galper on five albums between 1994 and 1999. As one of the most sought-after bass players in the Northwest United States area, he has backed singer Kendra Shank and occupied the bass chair in combos headed by Richard Cole, John Bishop, and Steve Korn. After years of performing with these top of the list jazz artists, he started to lead his own groups, which has resulted in two releases, Free in 1994 and The Art of Falling in 1998, both for the West Coast Origin label. He has also spent more time composing his own material for his own releases. Johnson actually started his musical career playing rock music in his sixth-grade band. By the time he was 15, he was a serious jazz player. By 20, he was well-groomed in the art, enabling him to play with leading jazz figures in Philadelphia, which consequently influenced his development as a jazz craftsman. He has also had his head turned by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, and members of the fusion movement. Although one hears colors in his music painted by these mentors, Johnson leans to the acoustic end of the spectrum, but incorporates elements of free jazz, modal music, and other components of modern creative jazz on his albums. In addition to recording, Johnson has appeared at important festivals, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Acona Jazz Festival, and has gigged at such watering holes as the Visiones Club in New York City. As a master bass player, Johnson is also asked to participate in clinics and master classes throughout his travels. Dave Nathan