Johnny Sansone

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Johnny Sansone
Background information
Birth nameJohn Sansone
Also known asJumpin' Johnny Sansone
Born (1957-09-27) September 27, 1957 (age 66)
Orange, New Jersey, United States
GenresElectric blues[1]
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, harmonicist, accordionist
Instrument(s)Harmonica, accordion, guitar, piano, vocals
Years active1980s–present

John "Johnny" Sansone (born September 27, 1957),[2][3][4] also known as Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, is an American electric blues singer, songwriter, harmonicist, accordionist, guitarist and piano player. He was nominated for seven music awards in 2012, including a Blues Music Award which he won.[5] To date, he has been involved in the release of twelve original albums.

Sansone's major influence was his fellow blues musician and songwriter, Jimmy Reed.[6]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Orange, New Jersey, Sansone was raised in nearby West Orange,[6][7] and attended West Orange High School, where he took up swimming.[8][9]

His father had played the saxophone in Dave Brubeck's band during World War II, and by the time he was age 12, his son had learned to play the saxophone, guitar and harmonica and seen Howlin' Wolf in concert.[10] He later studied blues harmonica playing by studying both Junior Wells and James Cotton. He left New Jersey in 1975 on a swimming scholarship at a college in Colorado.[1] Sansone toured in the 1980s supporting Robert Lockwood, Jr., David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Jimmy Rogers.[10]

Sansone moved between Colorado, Austin, Texas, Florida, Chicago, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before settling in 1990 in New Orleans, which has been his home base ever since. His original touring band, known as Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party, recorded their debut album, Where Y'at in 1987, which was released by the independent record label, Kingsnake Records, based in Sanford, Florida.[1] Mr. Good Thing (1991) followed, before Sansone got inspired to try his hand at playing the accordion after attending the funeral of Clifton Chenier.[10]

By the second half of the 1990s, Sansone had embraced Cajun, Southern soul, Chicago and Delta blues into his style and songwriting.[11] The resultant recording, Crescent City Moon (1997), was mainly his own work; although it included a cover version of Ted Hawkins' "Sweet Baby", which featured Sonny Landreth playing slide guitar. The collection included liner notes from Greg "Fingers" Taylor.[11][12] It received widespread critical approval and several awards,[1] including scooping several Offbeat magazine's 'Best of the Beat' accolades.[10] Rounder Records subsidiary label, Bullseye Blues, issued Waternelon Patch (1999), which saw guest appearances by Jon Cleary (piano) and Joe Krown (organ).[13]

Sansone lost momentum in the early 2000s, although he continued to perform in various musical ensembles, as well as working during the week in construction.[1] He started to play in a trio with Joe Krown and John Fohl. They played traditional blues with Krown on piano, and Fohl and Sansone sharing the vocal duties. This trio Sansone, Krown & Fohl released a self-titled album from Sansone's label ShortStack Records in 2004.[14][15]

In 2005, Sansone joined the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars (which variously incorporated Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Vidacovich, Anders Osborne, George Porter Jr., Waylon Thibodeaux, and Tab Benoit),[16] who were interested in promoting local environmental issues. The band became a regular feature at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.[17] Having to vacate his home in the legacy of Hurricane Katrina, Sansone continued to tour and perform with the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, wherein he befriended Anders Osborne.[10] Poor Man's Paradise (2007) was Sansone's first solo album for eight years and was produced by Osborne who also played clavinet and slide guitar on two of the tracks. Joe Krown also contributed on the electric organ.[18] In 2009, Sansone played the accordion on Mike Zito's album, Pearl River.[19][20]

By then playing in another acoustic trio setting, this time with Osborne and Fohl, Sansone was inspired to write the track, "The Lord Is Waiting and The Devil Is Too". It turned in to the title track of his 2011 album, and won the 'Song of the Year' title at the 2012 Blues Music Awards.[10][21] It provided a release from the stresses of a marital break-up, and the record's producer Osborn pushed Sansone's music towards a more commercial, rock influenced, direction.[22] In October 2012, Sansone performed at the Voodoo Experience in New Orleans, and in December that year, Sansone appeared at the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival.[23]

After a couple of live album releases, Sansone's next studio based creation was Once It Gets Started (2013).[10] Sansone then gave "one of the best individual performances of the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival," according to Offbeat magazine.[5]

A later issue, Lady on the Levee (2015), was another Osborne production and included a guest appearance from Monk Boudreaux.[10][24]



Year Title Record label Credited to
1987 Where Y'at Kingsnake Records Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party
1991 Mr. Good Thing Kingsnake Records Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party
1997 Crescent City Moon Rounder Records Jumpin' Johnny Sansone
1999 Watermelon Patch Rounder Records Johnny Sansone
2004 Sansone, Krown & Fohl ShortStack Records Sansone, Krown & Fohl
2007 Poor Man's Paradise CD Baby Johnny Sansone
2011 The Lord Is Waiting and The Devil Is Too ShortStack Records Johnny Sansone
2011 Live at Jazz Fest 2011 Homegrown Distribution Jumpin' Johnny Sansone
2012 Live at JazzFest 2012 MunckMix Jumpin' Johnny Sansone
2013 Once It Gets Started ShortStack Records Johnny Sansone
2015 Lady on the Levee ShortStack Records Johnny Sansone
2018 Hopeland ShortStack Records Johnny Sansone
2022 Into Your Blues ShortStack Records Johnny Sansone


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Richard Skelly. "Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  2. ^ "Johnny Sansone, September 27, 2013 | WWOZ New Orleans 90.7 FM". 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  3. ^ "New Orleans music 'Hot Picks' for Friday, Sept. 27, 2013: Funky Meters, Ana Popovic". 27 September 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  4. ^ "Jumpin' Johnny Sansone all the albums and all the songs". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  5. ^ a b "Johnny Sansone Homepage". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  6. ^ a b "Crescent City Moon : Jumpin' Johnny Sansone". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  7. ^ Skelly, Richard. "Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone bringing the blues to Red Bank", Asbury Park Press, June 30, 2017. Accessed November 21, 2017. "Harmonica player-vocalist-accordionist “Jumpin’ " Johnny Sansone, a West Orange native, will be accompanied by guitarist John Fohl, who rose to prominence as an excellent ensemble lead guitarist with Dr. John's Lower 911 small group."
  8. ^ Hicks, Robert. "Odyssey to New Orleans; Johnny Sansone started in New Jersey but wound up in the Big Easy", Daily Record, August 19, 2001. Accessed December 14, 2022, via "Sansone, a native of Orange, began his music career on saxophone under the watchful eye of his father, Al Sansone, who played sax with jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.... Sansone, started guitar around the same time and began performing on harp and guitar in local blues bands in West Orange, where he later became a star swimmer at West Orange High School."
  9. ^ "West Orange High School class lists – contact old friends". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Johnny Sansone Bio". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  11. ^ a b Cub Koda. "Crescent City Moon – Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  12. ^ "Crescent City Moon – Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  13. ^ Ann Wickstrom (1999-10-26). "Watermelon Patch – Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  14. ^ Chris Ryan. "Bio". Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  15. ^ a b "Sansone, Krown and Fohl – John Fohl | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  16. ^ "Details". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  17. ^ "Voice of the Wetlands Allstars perform and persuade at New Orleans Jazz Fest". 2011-05-07. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  18. ^ Hal Horowitz (2007-03-19). "Poor Man's Paradise – Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  19. ^ "Review: Mike Zito – Pearl River". 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  20. ^ "Pearl River – Mike Zito | Credits". AllMusic. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  21. ^ "2012 Blues Music Award winners". 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  22. ^ "Johnny Sansone digs deep on his excellent new CD of harmonica blues". 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  23. ^ "Bradenton Blues Festival musicians elate capacity crowd | Bradenton Herald". 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  24. ^ Swenson, John (2015-04-20). "Johnny Sansone, Lady On the Levee (Album Review)". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  25. ^ "Jumpin' Johnny Sansone | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  26. ^ "Where Y'at : Jumpin' Johnny Sansone". Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  27. ^ "Discography: SHORTSTACK Records". Retrieved 2016-01-13.

External links[edit]