Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Johnson, Dean (Douglas)

Johnson, Dean (Douglas), bassist; b. Renton, WA, 12 September 1956. Grew up in Renton and Bellevue, WA, and also 5 early years in Santa Maria, CA. His parents were Richard Johnson (b. 1917, IA. d. 1964) and Patricia Beauchamp (b. 1932, IA). Father sang in barbershop quartets. Mother remarried in 1966 to Lawrence Herman whose large jazz record collection was an early influence.

Johnson studied piano at age 8 and at age 13 began playing electric bass, followed a year later with the bass violin. Older brother Jeff (a guitarist playing primarily Christian music in Japan since 1975) was an early influence, and as his interests in music around 1970 went from Jimi Hendrix to Miles Davis (Bitches Brew) so did Dean's, who then became more interested in Jazz. Johnson's first bass teacher in the Seattle area was Chuck Metcalf, also studies at the Cornish Institute with James Knapp. Later studied bass, age 17, with Gary Peacock. Studied at the Berklee College of Music 1974-76. Studying bass Rich Appleman and John Neves, composing and arranging with John LaPorta and Herb Pomeroy, and playing extensively with fellow students Chuck Loeb, Steve Masakowski, and Bill Frisell. In 1976 Johnson returned to Seattle, spent a year with the Joe Borland Trio, then 3 years as house bassist at Parnells Jazz Club. First appearance at Parnells (age 2 0) with Sonny Stitt & Red Holloway Quintet, which included Barney McClure and Candy Finch. Others in those 3 years included Buddy Tate, Arnett Cobb, "Sweets" Edison, Barney Kessel, Milt Jackson, "Lockjaw" Davis, Clifford Jordan, Barry Harris, Clark Terry, Herb Ellis, Ted Curson, Richie Cole, Terry Gibbs, Mark Murphy, Bill Mays and Tete Montelieu (which included a National NPR broadcast in 1979 with the Tete Montelieu Trio). Also extensive work with other Northwest residents at the time including, Ernestine Anderson, Julian Priester, Denney Goodhew, Art Lande, Dave Peck, Ronny Steen, and Warren Rand. Just prior to moving to New York City in 1980, Johnson worked with vocalists Jackie Cain & Roy Kral who then offered Johnson a job with their quintet (which also included fellow jr. high, high school, and college friend vibraphonist Paul Johnson). The association with Jackie & Roy lasted for over 20 years. In 1985 Johnson became a member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. This association continued until Mr. Mulligan's death in 1996. It included extensive performing in Concerts and Festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, South America, and Australia with the Quartet, Big Band, 10-piece "Rebirth Of The Cool" band and many Orchestras. In the late 1980's Johnson had many tours of France with the Haze Greenfield Trio which included drummer Tony Moreno. In the 1990's Johnson had many tours of Italy with the group "Passage" which included Maurizio Giammarco, Luigi Tessarollo, and Ron Vincent. And also tours of France & Switzerland with guitarist Nguyen Le's groups, which included Art Lande & Paul McCandless.

Johnson continues to be a busy freelance musician in New York City. Some of the eclectic array of artists Dean has been and continues to be involved with include: Dave Liebman, Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Phil Woods, Grover Washington, Dave Grusin, Bob Berg, Lew Tabackin, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Kuhn, Dave Samuels, Ron Afiff, Dave Douglas, Paul McCandless, Nguyen Le, Art Lande, Ray Anderson, Walter Norris, Maurizio Giammarco, Bill Mays, Vic Juris, Billy Harper, Bill Charlap, Art Farmer, Nick Brignola, Ronny Cuber, Harold Danko, Rob McConnell, Dave Kikoski, Bill Frisell, Albert Dailey, Matt Wilson, Mike Metheny, John McNeil, Hayes Greenfield, Peter Madsen, Tom Rainey, Ron Vincent,  and Vocalists Sheila Jordan, Jackie and Roy, Mark Murphy, Carol Sloane, Helen Merrill, Roseanna Vitro, Kendra Shank, and Carla White.

Recordings as sideperson:
Gerry Mulligan: Symphonic Dreams (1987), Charlie Brown 40th Anniversary (1989), Lonesome Boulevard (with Bill Charlap) (1990), Rebirth Of The Cool (featuring Phil Woods, Wallace Roney, and John Lewis) (1992), Dream A Little Dream (1994), Dragonfly (featuring Grover Washington, Dave Grusin, John Scofield) (1995), Legacy (1996), Midas Touch Live in Berlin (2003); Various artists: The Gerry Mulligan Songbook (Tribute to Mulligan featuring Bill Charlap, Ted Rosenthal, and Ron Vincent) (1996), Tribute To Gerry Mulligan (featuring Bob Brookmeyer, Lee Konitz, Randy Breaker, Ted Rosenthal, Ron Vincent (1998); Kerry Strayer: Jeru Blue (featuring Randy Brecker, Ted Nash, John Mosca, Ted Rosenthal, and Ron Vincent); Jackie Cain and Roy Kral: High Standards (1982), Stephen Sondheim (1983), One More Rose (1987), The music of "Cy Coleman" (1987), Forever (1995), By The Beautiful Sea (1999); Akira Toyoda: Benkei (with Joe Lovano) (1984); Peggy Stern: City Hawk (1985) ; Richard Schulman: A Simple Gift (1986); Marty Fogel: Many Bobbing Heads At Last (1989); Haze Greenfield: Providence (with Jaki Byard) (1992); Passage: Passage (1992), 2nd Passage (1995); YUKA (1993); Penelope Tobin: When (1995); Carla White: Listen Here (1995), The Sweetest Sound (2000); Nguyen Le: Zanzibar (1996); Todd Reynolds: Subject to Change (1996); John McNeil/Kenny Berger: Hip Deep (1996), Brooklyn Ritual (1998); Fred Ho: Monkey Part Two (1997); Diane Hubka: Look No Further (1999); Carol Sloane: Romantic Ellington (with Benny) (1999); Kendra Shank: Reflections (2000); Various artists: Thank You, John (2000); Roseanna Vitro: Tropical Postcars (featuring Joe Lovano and Kenny Werner (2004)

Contact information:
Dean Johnson
221 Sackett St. #1
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 330-0798
deanjohnson@nyc.rr.com

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