Gus Johnson (jazz musician)

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Gus Johnson
Birth name Gus Johnson
Born (1913-11-15)November 15, 1913
Tyler, Texas, United States
Died February 6, 2000(2000-02-06) (aged 86)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Genres Swing, big band
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1922–1990

Gus Johnson (November 15, 1913 – February 6, 2000) was an American swing drummer in various jazz bands, born in Tyler, Texas. After learning to play drums from his next-door neighbor, Johnson occasionally played professionally at the age of ten in the Lincoln Theater, and performed in various local groups, most notable McDavid's Blue Rhythm Band. Upon graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Johnson moved to Kansas City, where he took up drumming full-time. He joined Jay McShann's Orchestra in 1938, with his music career being interrupted by his conscription into the military in 1943.[1]

In 1945, Johnson returned from his stint in the military, and relocated to Chicago to perform in the Jesse Miller Band. He subsequently played alongside Count Basie and was recorded on the album Basie Rides Again in 1952. Following a recovery from appendicitis Johnson was featured in numerous groups and dozens of recordings in the 1960s. In 1972, his former bandmates from Jay McShann's Orchestra reconvened to record Going to Kansas City. Although Johnson continued to tour into the 1980s, he developed Alzeheimer's disease in 1989, which he struggled with until his death on February 6, 2000.[2]


With Manny Albam

With Count Basie

With Lawrence Brown

With Buck Clayton

With Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim

With Coleman Hawkins

With Willis Jackson

With Herbie Mann

With Gerry Mulligan

With Joe Newman

With Chico O'Farrill

With Oscar Pettiford

With Zoot Sims

With Ralph Sutton and Ruby Braff

With Ralph Sutton and Jay McShann

  • The Last of the Whorehouse Piano Players (Chiaroscuro, 1979)
  • The Last of the Whorehouse Piano Players (Chiaroscuro, 1989)

With Ralph Sutton and Kenny Davern

With Kai Winding


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Gus Johnson - Biography". Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Javiniski, Laurie. "History of Texas Music".