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Aerowave Online Store | Deron Johnson
 
 
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Deron Johnson
Deron Johnson, born in Los Angeles, is a jazz musician living a life rich in pursuit of his ever-evolving musicality, which began at the age of sixteen. In college, Deron became hooked on jazz music at California State University Long Beach and continued his pursuit with private lessons from Billy Childs. After receiving a few grants and awards for scholarship, Deron left at the age of 21 to pursue a career in music.

In 1991, after touring with Pop Idol Paula Abdul, Deron was discovered by trumpet legend Miles Davis. This would be the last group that Miles would have. “I never remember being nervous on stage because I thought that if he called me to be in his band, then there was no place else I needed to be.” Deron did three European tours and two American tours with Miles before he died. And recorded the keyboards on his last CD effort called “Doo Bop.”

Miles Davis most assuredly laid the groundwork for Deron’s career. It still seems to ring thru years later when getting recommended for gigs. “if you played with Miles, it’s like having music’s calling card, you can play with anyone you want.”At this time Deron toured extensively and recorded with jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and David Sanborn.

The impressive list of leaders that Deron was already playing with at that time was a truly diverse spectrum of musicians ranging from Stewart Copeland, Jeff Beck, Robben Ford, Greg Phillingaines, and Marcus Miller.

In 1996, Deron decided to for the first time to leave the sideman role and focus on an original project. “Jazz in that mid 90’s period seemed a to be lacking in clarity of expression, and I felt I couldn’t offer anything to it. I’ve learned over the years to not try and change a genre, but just wait until you have like minds that are in similar worlds.

The recording that ensued was a folk rock duo effort with his now wife Monica Behan. The group, Behan Johnson, were signed to RCA records in the fall of 1996, and when the record came out it charted on AAA radio. They toured extensively with Chris Isaack, Fiona Apple, and played many festivals around the US. “ I remember listening to a lot of Neil Young, Jimmy Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell at that time. I began to be able to draw on an extremely wide palette of influence. For example, I began taking Neil Young songs and applying them to the piano. I mean the actual guitar voicings, which are very different from piano voicings, encouraged my fingers do some very interesting chords.”

The millennium brought more touring and more recordings with artists Alanis Morissette, Boz Scaggs and the last three years with Seal. Alanis’ live tour featured Deron alone on stage for an improvised solo piano piece.. Seal “Live in Paris” and Live with an Orchestra, are two DVD’s that feature Deron also.

Deron has continued to write and record for television and other artists. Last year, while doing gigs with trumpeter Dave Douglas, he began recording his first solo effort entitled “Learning to Crawl.” The music began out of an effort in exploring folk music. “Before jazz in America there were folk songs and field songs. So I felt for a first CD why not start at the beginning.” Hence “Learning to Crawl” has a sparse unity with a focused approach in which the emphasis is always on melody. The musicians Deron chose to have around him are as diverse as his story. Earl Harvin and Chris Bruce, longtime Seal alumni, added most of the drum and bass and guitar work, but Deron alo enlisted longtime New York bass player James Genus (Michael Brecker, Jeff Watts) to the mix. “ I was looking for non jazz musicians to play jazz, and jazz musicians to play folk. I also had LA Philharmonic cellist Victor Lawrence completing the quartet. LTC is set to be released in Spring 2007.

ALBUMS
learning to crawl
Purchase of digital album includes: 7 tracks, front cover. ZIP file (46.2MB)
 
$7.00          
MP3 (99 cents each) Buy Listen
01. Wig Wise
02. Blackbird
03. Learning to Crawl
04. Blower's Daughter
05. Libra
06. Columbus Circle
07. F Train
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