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James P. Johnson

American pianist and composer

Died when: 61 years 289 days (741 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius

 

James P. Johnson

James Price Johnson (February 1, 1894 – November 17, 1955) was an American pianist and composer.A pioneer of stride piano, he was one of the most important pianists in the early era of recording, and like Jelly Roll Morton, one of the key figures in the evolution of ragtime into what was eventually called jazz.

Johnson was a major influence on Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Fats Waller, who was his student.Johnson composed many hit songs, including the unofficial anthem of the Roaring Twenties, "The Charleston," and he remained the acknowledged king of New York jazz pianists through most of the 1930s.

Johnson's artistry, influence on early popular music, and contributions to musical theatre are often overlooked, and as such, he has been referred to by musicologist David Schiff as "The Invisible Pianist."


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