Budd Johnson

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Budd Johnson
Background information
Birth nameAlbert J. Johnson III
Born(1910-12-14)December 14, 1910
Dallas, Texas, United States
DiedOctober 20, 1984(1984-10-20) (aged 73)
Kansas City, Missouri
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet
Years active1920s–1970s

Albert J. "Budd" Johnson III (December 14, 1910 – October 20, 1984)[1] was an American jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who worked extensively with, among others, Ben Webster, Benny Goodman, Big Joe Turner, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and, especially, Earl Hines.[2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Johnson initially played drums and piano before switching to tenor saxophone.[4] In the 1920s, he performed in Texas and parts of the Midwest, working with Jesse Stone among others.[4] Johnson had his recording debut while working with Louis Armstrong's band in 1932 to 1933, but he is more known for his work, over many years, with Earl Hines.[4] It is contended that he and Billy Eckstine, Hines' long-term collaborator, led Hines to hire "modernists" in the birth of bebop, which came largely out of the Hines band. Johnson was also an early figure in the bebop era, doing sessions with Coleman Hawkins in 1944. In the 1950s he led his own group,[4] and did session work for Atlantic Records – he is the featured tenor saxophone soloist on Ruth Brown's hit "Teardrops from My Eyes". In the mid-1960s, he began working and recording again with Hines.[4] His association with Hines is his longest lasting and most significant. In 1975, he began working with the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra.[4] He was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993. His grandson, Albert Johnson (aka Prodigy), was a member of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep.[5]

He died of a heart attack in Kansas City at the age of 73.[6]


As leader/coleader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Cannonball Adderley

With Count Basie

With Ruth Brown

With Benny Carter

With Roy Eldridge

With Duke Ellington and Count Basie

With Gil Evans

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Coleman Hawkins

  • Rainbow Mist (Delmark, 1944 [1992]) compilation of Apollo recordings

With Earl Hines

  • The Father Jumps (Bluebird, 1939–1945 [1975])

With Claude Hopkins

With Etta Jones

With Quincy Jones

With Jimmy McGriff

With Carmen McRae

With Bud Powell

With Carrie Smith

With Jimmy Smith

With Sonny Stitt

With Clark Terry

With Ben Webster

With Randy Weston

As arranger[edit]

With Jimmy Witherspoon


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 368. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ "Budd Johnson | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  3. ^ John S. Wilson (October 23, 1984). "Budd Johnson, 73; A Jazz saxophonist from Swing to Bop". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 228. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  5. ^ Gillett, Charlie (1996). The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-306-80683-5.
  6. ^ Wilson, John S. (23 October 1984). "BUDD JOHNSON, 73; A JAZZ SAXOPHONIST FROM SWING TO BOP". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2021.

External links[edit]