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Freddy Johnson

Freddy Johnson

Freddy Johnson


Freddy Johnson (March 12, 1904 – March 24, 1961) was an American jazz pianist and singer who gained popularity in the 1930s playing mostly swing style. He began playing professionally as Florence Mills' accompanist, and formed his own band in 1924. In 1925 he worked with [artist/]Elmer Snowden, and in 1926 he worked with Billy Fowler. He briefly worked with Henri Saparo and Noble Sissle, and then he joined Sam Woodings band and traveled to Europe in June 1928. Read more on Last.fm
Freddy Johnson (March 12, 1904 – March 24, 1961) was an American jazz pianist and singer who gained popularity in the 1930s playing mostly swing style. He began playing professionally as Florence Mills' accompanist, and formed his own band in 1924. In 1925 he worked with [artist/]Elmer Snowden, and in 1926 he worked with Billy Fowler. He briefly worked with Henri Saparo and Noble Sissle, and then he joined Sam Woodings band and traveled to Europe in June 1928. Wooding and Johnson parted ways in 1929, and Johnson returned to Paris to do solo work.

While he was in Paris, he met with Arthur Briggs and put together a band. Between late 1933 and 1934 Johnson worked with Freddy Taylor's band. In February 1934 Freddy Johnson left Paris to work in Belgium and the Netherlands where he recorded with the Dutch swing and dance jazz band The Ramblers numbers such as Zuiderzee Blues, which was also released under the anglicized name of Zuyderzee Blues. In the mid 1930's he also made some recordings with the Quintette du Hot Club de France. While living in Amsterdam, he co-lead a band with Lex van Spall, and they played regularly at the Negro Palace in a trio with Coleman Hawkins who had also played and recorded with The Ramblers. He later worked at the Negro Palace, and then with Max Woiski in a club called La Cubana, in Amsterdam. He worked at this club until the 11th of December in 1941, when he was arrested by the Nazis.

He was interned in Bavaria from January 1942 until February 1944, when he was repatriated to the US. After returning to the US, he worked with George James, then in 1944 joined Gavin Bushell's band in New York. In the later 40s and early 50s he worked mostly as a piano and voice coach, and also did some solo residencies at Well's New York. He returned to Europe in 1959 with the "Free and Easy" show, and then played for another three weeks with his pre-war contacts in the Netherlands. Soon after he became very ill with cancer, and after staying at a hospital in Copenhagen in autumn 1960, [artist/]Freddy Johnson returned to New York and stayed in St. Barnabas Hospital until his death.

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