Henry Johnson
  • Chicago
  • United States
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  • Gino Goss
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Tell us a little about your background...
Henry Johnson - The Chicago-born guitarist began playing at age twelve. While spending some formative time in Memphis, he started playing gospel music at age thirteen. By age fourteen, Johnson was playing in R&B groups. Although Johnson's parents brought him up hearing the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Joe Williams, and other artists of that era, it was not until 1967 that Johnson was formally introduced to jazz by hearing guitarist Wes Montgomery. In 1976, he went on the road with jazz organist Jack McDuff and worked with vocalist, Donny Hathaway in 1977. In 1979, Johnson began playing with jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis, and in 1985, jazz legend, Joe Williams added Johnson to his regular group. Johnson's musical roots run deep into gospel, blues, and jazz. His strongest and earliest influences were Kenny Burrell, George Benson, and most significantly, Wes Montgomery. While influenced by these great guitarists, Johnson also cites the music of Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, big bands, and jazz orchestras as integral forces which shaped his style. "You're The One", his recording debut for MCA/Impulse! achieved ..1 status on both the Radio & Records NAC chart, and Contemporary Jazz chart for two months - a rare occurrence for a first recording. This recording also won a five star rating in Downbeat magazine, and was nominated for a Grammy. Johnson's follow-up recordings, "Future Excursions" and "Never Too Much" also reached the top of the charts."New Beginnings", was Johnson's debut recording for the Heads Up International jazz label. "New Beginnings" and "Missing You", his second release for Heads Up International, both reached the top of the charts as well. In addition to his solo recording projects, Johnson has found time to record with the likes of Ramsey Lewis, vocalists, Joe Williams and Vanessa Ruben, and saxophonist Richie Cole among many others. He has performed with Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Angela Bofil, Dizzy Gillespie, the Boston Pops, Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Dr. Billy Taylor, and organist Jimmy Smith, James Moody, David "Fathead" Newman, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Watson, Nicholas Payton, and many other great jazz artists.
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Comment Wall (132 comments)

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At 8:25pm on January 26, 2011, Gino Goss gave Henry Johnson a gift
checked out your webpage last night - great music man !! Much Love - Gino ~~
At 10:21am on March 21, 2010, Marta Graciela Bressi said…
Dear Henry Johnson,

I´d really appreciate it if you could take the time to look at my work and leave your impressions here or in the guestbook on my homepage- http://www.freewebs.com/miartemartagracielabressi- where there are more samples of my digital art works, engravings and sculptures. The web site´s in Spanish but, if you want to read the texts in English, you can access my Livejournal:


You can also visit the website we created with the Belgian jazz musician Dirk Schreurs to make our recent video art collaboration known to the world:




P.S.: Unfortunately, i' ve got too many contact on the network to add more.File free to add me if you want.
At 8:10am on March 19, 2010, Bruce C said…

Henry....what great chops man! Such classy and sensitive work...well done! Great spacing and`phrasing...such a treat to my old ears...lovely work with your great group too...everyone is listening, and adding to the total musicianship....truly beautiful...a tight and talented group...Well done!...Love to network with you anytime, should you need visual imagery to match your wonderful musical artistry...my best to you...always b
At 6:59pm on March 8, 2010, Mike Johnson said…
Check me here on the jazz network or hit my site http://www.mikejohnsonsplace.com
At 9:04pm on March 7, 2010, Mike Johnson said…
Henry...I was mesmerized by your playing!!! I will be following you and hope to see you play live some time! Check me out when time permits!
At 4:47am on September 16, 2009, Richard Harrison Smith said…
Hi Henry, We met sometime around '77 or '78 at the Sheraton in Columbus, Ohio. I believe you were on the road with Ramsey Lewis or someone. You sat in with our group, (the band leaders name was Carl Sally, a tenor player) and later showed me a bunch of Wes stuff in the room. I only remembered part of it because I was a bit drunk that night and not really with it, to my embarrasment. If it's any consolation, that night led me to quit drinking at work. Anyway, I'm still working and trying to learn, living in Asia for the last 25 years (Taiwan and Singapore). If you're curious you could check my webiste; ricksmithguitar.com I just wanted to thank you for the time and encouragement you gave me all those years ago. Sometimes the effects of kindness or generousity go far beyond the moment! Thanks, Henry
At 9:16am on September 3, 2009, jazz said…
bonjours monsieu johnson j admir baucoups vos music respect pour vous abientot
At 12:39pm on June 9, 2009, John H Langley said…
Hello Great one.
Love seeing you kicking it as always.
Haven't seen you since the Gary Indiana days.
John Henry Langley from the Langley 5
Steve Brisker days --How's Billy?
remember the 70's.
Love you as always
Always my favorite Guitarist...
At 10:20am on May 29, 2009, Myreille Bédard said…
Hi Henry

Very nice sound I hear in your guitar playing. Your music is like a warm and cool breeze.
Best regards
At 10:12pm on March 16, 2009, Kennard Williams said…
Thanks for your response Henry. I've heard you play several times via WDUQ 90.5 FM and the Net as well. You sound great...I like listening.

Best Wishes,


















Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams


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