Acrobat Music

Buddy Johnson, R&B pianist and bandleader, died on Feb 9th 1977

Buddy Johnson, R&B pianist and bandleader, died on Feb 9th 1977
Born in South Carolina in 1915, Buddy Johnson learnt classical piano as a child, and moved to New York to get involved in the jazz scene, joining the Cotton Club revue that toured Europe in the '30s before being expelled from Nazi Germany. In 1941 he put together his own nine-piece orchestra, and started making records for the burgeoning "race records" market, from the outset using an up-front R&B/blues style, very different from the smooth swing and big band sounds of that era, with his sister Ella Johnson on vocals. They had a number of hits, and in 1945 Ella and his band recorded his song "Since I Fell For You" - although it was not a big hit for them, it was a big success when recorded by Lenny Welch in the '50s and has since become a jazz standard. In 1946 he expanded his repertoire by composing a Blues Concerto which he performed at Carnegie Hall, and he toured successfully into the '50s before his music was overtaken by mass market rock 'n' roll. His health declined and he died in 1977 at the age of 62. Acrobat has a collection of his R&B hits as part of our Jukebox Hits series. For full details click here.
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