||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2011)|
Johnson performing in Rochester, New York in 1977.
|Birth name||Alphonso Johnson|
February 2, 1951 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion, funk|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, acoustic bass guitar, chapman stick, warr guitar|
|Associated acts||Weather Report, Bobby and the Midnites, Jazz Is Dead|
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Johnson started off as an upright bass player, but switched to the electric bass in his late teens. Beginning his career in the early 1970s, Johnson showed innovation and fluidity on the electric bass. He sessioned with a few jazz musicians before landing a job with Weather Report, taking over for co-founding member Miroslav Vitous. His playing was featured on the Weather Report album Mysterious Traveller (1974), on the songs "Cucumber Slumber" and "Scarlet Woman". Johnson appeared on two more albums Tale Spinnin' (1975) and Black Market (1976) for Weather Report before he left the band to work with drummer Billy Cobham. During 1976-77 he recorded three solo albums as a band leader, for the Epic label, in a fusion-funk vein.
Johnson was one of the first musicians to introduce the Chapman Stick to the public. His knowledge of the instrument nearly landed him a lucrative job with Genesis as the replacement for guitarist Steve Hackett, who had quit Genesis in 1977. Being more of a bassist than a guitarist, Johnson instead recommended his friend ex-Sweetbottom guitarist and fellow session musician Daryl Stuermer, who would go on to remain a member of Genesis's touring band until 1993 on the We Can't Dance tour, and then the 2007 reunion tour.
In early 1982, Johnson joined Grateful Dead member Bob Weir's side project Bobby and the Midnites. He would reunite with Weir in 2000, playing bass in place of Phil Lesh on tour with The Other Ones. He has also performed fusion versions of Grateful Dead songs alongside Billy Cobham in the band Jazz Is Dead.
Since the fall of 2011 he has been working toward a music education degree at the Department of Music at California State University, Northridge. He has an extensive experience as a bass teacher and has conducted bass seminars and clinics in Germany, England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.
He also has two sons named Myles Ramon and Malcolm Ra Johnson, who are following in their father's footsteps as artists. Myles is studying to become a film director and Malcolm is attending The Academy of Art studying illustration. The two are working together on a graphic novel project labeled "Roof Top Jazz" which is unpublished.
Recently, the duo plan to release a feature film in October 2014 titled Curious.
- Lobue Custom
- Warwick Alphonso Johnson Custom Shop Bass Guitar
- Warwick Infinity
- 5 String Modulus Fretted and Fretless Bass
- Washburn AB45
With Chuck Mangione
- Land of Make Believe (Mercury Records, 1973)
With Jeffrey Osborne
- Stay With Me Tonight
With Michael Jackson
- Man In The Mirror
With Weather Report
With Eddie Henderson
- Sunburst (Blue Note, 1975)
- Live on Tour in Europe (Atlantic 1976)
With Rod Argent
- Moving Home (1978)
With Phil Collins
- Face Value (Virgin 1981)
With Bob Weir
With Steve Hackett
- Genesis Revisited (Snapper Classics UK 1996)
- Yanow, Scott. "Alphonso Johnson: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Alphonso Johnson". Gitarre & Bass Magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- "Video: German Warwick Bass Guitars". Deutsche Welle TV. September 2013. Retrieved November 2013.
- "Video: Warwick Custom Shop Basses: Jack Bruce Signature for Alphonso Johnson". Warwick. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
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