Howard Johnson

Born: Aug. 7, 1941 Montgomery, AL

In 1964, at a time when the tuba was not a fashionable instrument Charles Mingus welcomed him into his workshop.  In 1965 he toured with soul jazz altoist Hank Crawford, playing baritone.  In 1966 he played in the Archie Shepp band for some months and appeared with him at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1968.  Gil Evans used his multi-instrumental capacity at various points between 1966 and 1970. Active on the west coast in the mid-60's, Johnson played with Buddy Rich, Gerald Wilson and Oliver Nelson.  He supplied the tuba solo on a version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" in 1974  He arranged for Taj Mahal, B. B. King and Paul Butterfield and played on the Band's Rock Of Ages.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

tuba howard johnson








Howard Lewis Johnson (born August 7, 1941) in Montgomery, Alabama, is an American jazz musician known mainly for his work on tuba and baritone saxophone, although he also plays the bass clarinet, trumpet and other reed instruments.[1]


Johnson has accompanied George Gruntz extensively. As a leader, he released three albums during the 1990s for Verve Records, the first Arrival, a tribute to Pharaoh Sanders.


In the 1960s he worked with Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Archie Shepp, and Hank Mobley on the album A Slice of the Top. He also began a long association with Gil Evans in 1966. He was arranger of a horn section that backed Taj Mahal on Mahal's 1971 live album, The Real Thing, which featured three other tubists/multi-instrumentalists, Bob Stewart, Joseph Daley and Earl McIntyre. Johnson also played with The Band on their Rock of Ages live album, The Last Waltz and into the late 2000s with The Band drummer, Levon Helm's Band. During the 1970s, Howard led the Saturday Night Live Band.

He has also led three tuba bands, collaborated with Tomasz Stanko, Substructure, Tuba Libre and GRAVITY, perhaps his best known band. He has recorded frequently.

He had a minor role in the 1983 film, Eddie and the Cruisers as Wendell's replacement. He has also appeared in episodes of Matlock and Hill Street Blues.

Howard Johnson has two grown children, David and Nedra. David is an actor living in New York, and Nedra is an accomplished and respected blues singer and musician.



As leader

1994: Arrival: A Pharoah Sanders Tribute (Verve)

1995: Gravity!!! (Verve)

1998: Right Now (Verve)

As sideman

Carla Bley: Tropic Appetites (Watt, 1973–74), Escalator over the Hill

Gary Burton: A Genuine Tong Funeral (RCA, 1967–68)

Miles Davis: Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (Warner, 1991)

Gil Evans: Svengali (ACT, 1973), The Honey Man (Newtone)

Barbara Dennerlein: Junkadoo (Verve 1996)

Dexter Gordon: Sophisticated Giant (Columbia, 1977)

Charlie Haden: Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse, 1968)

Andrew Hill: Passing Ships (Blue Note, 1969)

Jazz Composers Orchestra: Communications (JCOA, 1968)

Jack De Johnette Special Edition: Album Album (ECM, 1984)

NDR Big Band: Bravissimo (ACT 1992)

Jaco Pastorius: Jaco Pastorius (Sony, 1975)

Jaco Pastorius: Word of Mouth (Warner, 1981)

John Scofield: Quiet (Verve, 1996)

Archie Shepp: Mama Too Tight (Impulse!, 1966)

James Taylor: "Jellyman Kelly" (Sesame Street, 1980) [2]

With George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band

The George Gruntz Conert Jazz Band with Guest Star Elvin Jones (MPS, 1978)

At Zürich Schauspielhaus (Kenwood, 1981, erschienen 1984)

Live 82 (Amiga, 1982)

Theatre (ECM, 1983, erschienen 1984)

Happening Now! (Hat Hut, 1987)

First Prize (Enja, 1989)

Blues ´n´ Dues et Cetera (Enja, 1991)

Beyond Another Wall (TCB, 1991)

Ray Anderson & The George Gruntz Big Band (Gramavision, 1994)


1^ Allmusic biography

2^ Jellyman Kelly performance


Personal Website:



Gravity!!!, Howard JohnsonRight Now!, GravityHoward Johnson's Nubia Arrival, Howard JohnsonEvery Little Thing (feat. Jermaine Jackson) - Single, Howard JohnsonTwo Letters I'll Keep, Charles BurnhamBring It On - EP, Howard JohnsonHe's Just Disturbed - Single, Howard Johnson



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