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Pete Johnson - Radio Broadcasts, Film Soundtracks, Alternate Takes (1939-c.1947)

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Album Review

This Pete Johnson CD collects a number of rare recordings from radio airchecks, film soundtracks, radio transcription discs, and unissued alternate takes, featuring the pianist in a variety of settings; the fidelity is surprisingly good on most tracks. His inventive "Bus Robinson Blues," and the lively boogie woogie "Dive Bomber" are piano solos; he's heard with occasional partner Albert Ammons in a revival of their "Boogie Woogie Prayer," as well as an untitled duet and two rehearsals. Johnson accompanies singers Lena Horne and blues great Big Joe Turner, and also with small groups that include Hot Lips Page on trumpet and either Budd Johsnon or Ben Webster on tenor sax. Johnson sits in with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra for "Roll 'Em" (not the Mary Lou Williams piece with the identical name). Several tracks are taken from the soundtrack to the film Boogie Woogie Dream, and unfortunately include dialog, though it is mercifully brief. A nice touch is the inclusion of the various radio announcers; the introduction to a 1940 broadcast is a hilarious parody of the often pompous classical announcers, though long time Metropolitan Opera radio host Milton Cross plays along with the insulting script denouncing boogie woogie as he introduces Johnson and Ammons' "Boogie Woogie Prayer." Detailed liner notes by Konrad Nowakowski, the vintage photographs, and fairly detailed discography add to the value of this recommended CD.


Born: 25 March 1904 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

Pete Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis) whose sudden prominence in the late '30s helped make the style very popular. Originally a drummer, Johnson switched to piano in 1922. He was part of the Kansas City scene in the 1920s and '30s, often accompanying singer Big Joe Turner. Producer John Hammond discovered him in 1936 and got him to play at the Famous Door in New York. After taking part in Hammond's 1938 Spirituals to Swing Carnegie...
Full bio
Pete Johnson - Radio Broadcasts, Film Soundtracks, Alternate Takes (1939-c.1947), Pete Johnson
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music, Jazz
  • Released: 02 May 1998

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