John Von Ohlen

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John Von Ohlen (May 13, 1941 Indianapolis, Indiana – October 3, 2018, Cincinnati, Ohio) was an American jazz drummer who worked for Woody Herman in 1967 and 1969, then with Stan Kenton from 1970 to 1972.[1] He began playing Trombone in middle school, and played through high school.[2] He graduated from North Central High School in 1960.[3] He then went to North Texas State briefly, but returned to Indianapolis shortly after.[2]

Von Ohlen led the Blue Wisp Big Band in Cincinnati from 1980 to 2018,[4] and his own groups under his name ranging from quartets to big band. From 1967 to 1968, Von Ohlen toured with Billy Maxted’s Manhattan Jazz Band. In the 1980s and 1990s, Von Ohlen was a member of a big band led by the pianist Steve Allee.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Von Ohlen died on October 3, 2018 at the age of 77.[1][11]


  • John Von Ohlen – The Baron
  • John Von Ohlen & Steve Allee Big Band – Live

With Blue Wisp Big Band

  • The Blue Wisp Band of Cincinnati
  • Butterfly
  • The Smooth One
  • Live at Carmelo's
  • Rollin' with Von Ohlen
  • Tribute
  • 20th Anniversary

With Stan Kenton

  • Live at Redlands University
  • Today
  • Live at Brigham Young University
  • The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton

With others

  • Chuck Carter/Steve Allee Big Band – Downtown Blues
  • Woody HermanConcerto for Herd
  • Cal CollinsCrack'd Rib


  1. ^ a b "John Von Ohlen". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "John Von Ohlen". Modern Drummer Magazine. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
  3. ^ "John Von Ohlen - North Central High School - Indianapolis, IN". Retrieved 2020-04-27.
  4. ^ "The Blue Wisp Big Band - Cincinnati's premier big band". Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  5. ^ Leonard Feather & Ira Gitler, The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (1976) ISBN 0-8180-1215-3
  6. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Jazz, by Charles Eugene Claghorn (1911–2005), Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (1982)
  7. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Third edition, Eight volumes, edited by Colin Larkin, Muze, London (1998) ISBN 1-56159-237-4
  8. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, First edition, Two volumes, edited by Barry Kernfeld Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, Macmillan Press, London (1988)
  9. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Edited by Barry Kernfeld Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, St. Martin's Press, New York (1994)
  10. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Second edition, Three volumes, edited by Barry Kernfeld Archived 2012-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, Macmillan Publishers, London (2002)
  11. ^ "John Von Ohlen, acclaimed jazz drummer, dies at 77". Retrieved October 3, 2018.