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Eric Johnson

Clarion Jazz Recording Artist

Jazz guitarist Eric Johnson is solo recording artist and sideman who’s music has been heard around the world on tour, on recordings, and jazz radio.  He plays soulful bluesy guitar blending the influences of Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson. Johnson’s first solo CD "Bumpin In LA", released on Clarion Jazz in 1993 received national airplay and acclaim.  He released “Makin' Whoopie” on the BlueJay label in 1996 followed by “Supehighway” on Clarion Jazz in 2009.  Johnson toured Europe, Japan, and the United State performing with organist Jack McDuff, Stanley Turrentine, Ramsey Louis, Groove Holmes, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy McGriff, Hank Crawford, Willis Jackson, Jimmy Owens, Sonny Fortune, Walter Booker, Rufus Reid, George Coleman, Shirley Scott and many others. He has also performed as a sideman on their albums.

“He's also a lyrical player, who swings. And unlike many guitarists, he has mastered the technique of playing two notes in different octaves simultaneously.” Nate Guidry Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Eric Johnson was born on August 17, 1954 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Point Breeze.  Johnson picked up the guitar at 13. His father brought home a guitar for Christmas asking the 13 year old Eric if he would be interested in playing.  After studying with guitarist Chad Evans, Johnson started played gigs in the late 1960’s at the Crawford Grill, Elks and other clubs.  Johnson met guitarist George Benson at a matinee performance at the Hurricane Lounge and became friends.  Johnson skipped school when to learn from Benson when he was in town. Bensons give him technical tips and told him what guitar books to learn.  Benson also gave Johnson his first break.  When George Benson left Jack McDuff’s band he recommended Eric to replace him. 

After graduating from Schenley High School the 17 year old Johnson went on the road in 1971 with organist Jack McDuff.  Eric moved to New York City in 1978 where he led a trio that worked the New York/New Jersey clubs.  He also began touring with Jimmy Owens and Willis "Gatortail" Jackson in 1978.  Johnson’s first solo “CD “Bumpin’” was the initial release of the newly launched Clarion Jazz label and became their biggest seller.  ``Bumpin''' released in 1993 received national airplay and critical acclaim.  Johnson relocated to Los Angeles in 1993 where he led a popular trio and performed with LA greats Lorez Alexandria and Buddy Collette.  Johnson returned to Pittsburgh in 1996 to work with Walt Harper and Harold Betters. Eric then reformed his favorite group "The Fabalous A-Team" with Kenny Blake and Walt Harper.  Johnson returned New York in 2000 and has has performed with Dr.Lonnie Smith and Lou Donaldson.  Johnson has also worked in Japan recording and touring with organist Akiko Tsuruga. Mr Johnson is an endorser of D'Angelico guitars.