David Earle Johnson

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David Earle Johnson was a percussionist, a composer and a music producer. He performed on albums by a number of jazz artists in the seventies before releasing a few of his own albums in the late seventies and early eighties.

He appeared on Billy Cobham's Total Eclipse and Clive Stevens's Voyage to Uranus (1974); Jan Hammer's First Seven Days (1975); Lenny White's Big City and Miroslav Vitouš' Majesty Music (1977); Jaroslav Jakubovic's Checkin' In, Mark Moogy Klingman's Moogy II, the Players Association's Born to Dance, and Josh White Jr.'s self-titled album (1978).

Johnson's solo debut came in 1978 with Time Is Free, recorded for Vanguard Records. His relationship with that label proved short-lived, however, and he began recording albums for other labels in subsequent years before his recording career simmered following his 1983 album, the Midweek Blues.

Jan Hammer produced and performed on most of these releases along with John Abercrombie, Jeremy Steig, Col. Bruce Hampton, Allen Sloan, Dan Wall, Billy McPherson (under the pseudonym Ben 'Pops' Thornton), and Gary Campbell.

Johnson was against the use of sampling, as Hammer used samples of his rare Nigerian Log Drums on the Miami Vice soundtrack without his permission. This resulted in a lawsuit which Johnson ultimately lost.[citation needed]

He was married to artist Evelyne Morisot, with whom he had four children.[citation needed]. He died from cancer in 1998.


  • 1978 Time Is Free
  • 1979 Skin Deep Yeah!
  • 1980 Hip Address
  • 1981 Route Two
  • 1983 Midweek Blues
  • 1986 The Feeling's Mutual
  • 1993 White Latening

With others

  • Bob Belden Ensemble Straight to My Heart: The Music of Sting (1989)
  • Blast Blast (1980)
  • Billy Cobham Total Eclipse (1974)
  • Billy Cobham Rudiments: The Billy Cobham... (2001)
  • Jan Hammer Early Years (1974),
  • Jan Hammer First Seven Days (1975)
  • Col. Bruce Hampton & The... Outside Looking Out (1980)
  • Jaroslav Jakubovic Checkin' In (1978)
  • Elvin Jones - The Main Force (Vanguard, 1976)
  • Klemperer/Reiner Gerald McBoing Boing & Others (1990)
  • Mark Moogy Klingman Moogy II (1978)
  • Taj Mahal Like Never Before (1991)
  • Oregon Friends (1977)
  • Oregon Essential (1987)
  • Oregon Vanguard Sessions: Best of the... (2000)
  • The Players Association Born to Dance (1978)
  • Players Association Players Association/Turn the Music (1998)
  • Sea Level Best of Sea Level (1977)
  • Sea Level Long Walk on a Short Pier (1979)
  • Clive Stevens Voyage to Uranus (1974)
  • Swamp Dogg Swamp Dogg (Rat On) (1971)
  • Swamp Dogg Cuffed, Collared and Tagged (1972)
  • Swamp Dogg Have You Heard This Story? (1974)
  • George Tandy Urban Jazz (1992)
  • Nestor Torres Morning Ride (1989)
  • Miroslav Vitous Majesty Music (1977)
  • Josh White, Jr. Josh White Jr. (1978)
  • Lenny White Big City (1977)
  • John Williams Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Betty Wright Passion & Compassion (1990)
  • Various Artists Cool Fever (1997)
  • Various Artists Vanguard Collector's Edition (1997)
  • Jan Hammer Early Years
  • Jan Hammer Oh Yeah?

External Links[edit]

  • "David Earle Johnson Showcase". Local Music Scene South Carolina.