About Gordon Johnson As a bass player, Gordon Johnson is a list-maker's dream. There are the world tours with names like Maynard Ferguson, Gene Bertoncini, Roy Buchanan, the CBS All Stars, Doc Severinsen and Chuck Mangione. There are the recordings as sideman, over 150 at last count, from jazz (Jimmy Hamilton, Maynard Ferguson, etc.) to blues/R&B (Buchanan, Doug Maynard) to bluegrass (Becky Schlegel) to folk (Greg Brown, Arlo Guthrie).
Network television appearances run the gamut from the Merv Griffin Show to Soul Train. But more important is the list of adjectives that undeniably apply to Johnson: fluid, inventive, smart, tasteful, complimentary and complete. With TRIOS Version 3.0, Gordon Johnson continues to compile a list of outstanding accomplishments as bandleader and CD producer.
Born in 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gordy Johnson was quickly immersed in the world of music. His father Clifford was in the bass section of the Minnesota Orchestra for 47 years and his mother Thelma taught piano. Gordy's main ax growing up was the flute, however, he also played bass, keyboards and guitar, sang rock and roll, you name it. A 1974 graduate of the prestigious Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (New York), Gordy was a Flute Major and member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Not that his now-primary instrument was in storage during those years ? Gordy played bass in the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, Studio Orchestra and Arrangers Workshop Orchestra. His well-rounded training in a variety of instruments provides Gordy with the musical vocabulary and empathy that defines the great jazz bassists.
In 1975, Gordy hit the road for a three-year stint with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, much of that time playing alongside drumming great Peter Erskine. More world tours followed with top names like Roy Buchanan, the Paul Winter Consort and Chuck Mangione. Throughout this decade, Gordy was also busy with studio recordings and jazz gigs in and around New York City.
In 1989 Gordy moved back to the Twin Cities, where he has been one of the most in-demand bass players in town ever since. He has performed at top Twin Cities venues with scores of national artists, including Joanne Brackeen, Herb Ellis, Rosemary Clooney, Scott Hamilton, Michael Johnson, Jay McShann, Dewey Redman, Jim Rotondi, Diane Schuur, Marlena Shaw, Stacey Kent and Toots Thielemans. Gordy's services have been employed by most every notable Twin Cities-based jazz artist, both on stage and in the studio. It's not all jazz either, as Gordy has recorded with artists from several genres, in addition to countless jingles, film scores and the like. Playing an average of 250 gigs a year, Mr. Johnson keeps quite busy.
With his TRIOS series, Gordon Johnson has distinguished himself as a bandleader. The 1996 TRIOS release was followed by 2002's TRIOS V. 2 and 2005's TRIOS Version 3.0, all of which featured a variety of stellar pianists and drummers and garnered critical acclaim. His new release, GJ4 continues the series with another spectacular lineup of talent.
On the list of exceptional bass players, Gordon Johnson has earned his spot.
_ Pat Courtemanche
Released in May 2008, the most recent disc, GJ4, features pianists; Bill Carrothers, Laura Caviani, Frank Kimbrough, Bryan Nichols and Tanner Taylor, with drummers; David King, Phil Hey, Steve Smith, Todd Strait & Matt Wilson.
GJ4 and the entire GORDON JOHNSON TRIOS Catalog of CDs or Digital Downloads are now available for purchase at; www.tonalities.com - www.CDBaby.com - iTunes - The Electric Fetus and numerous CD shops in and around Tokyo, Japan! _GJ