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     Johnson, Plas (21st July 1931-Present)

    He is a saxophonist born Plas John Johnson Jr. in Donaldsonville, Louisiana who first performed and recorded in and around New Orleans with his brother Ray, who was a pianist, under the name the Johnson Brothers Combo.  In 1951 he toured with the Charles Brown Blues Band before doing his time in the military with the US Army.  Once his service finished in 1954 he settled in Los Angeles, California, and studied at the Westlake School of music, but left after a year or so to concentrate on his career.  He became an extremely sought after and acclaimed session musician and before long was backing many of the big R&B artists of the day as well as being hired by Maxwell Davis to perform in his place while he spent his time on production.  The mid-1950s came along and Capitol Records took him on to perform on recordings by some of the most popular artists at the time and also Les Baxter composed songs specifically for him to perform.  He was also used by Motown and others and could be heard on many of the hit records of the day such as "Rockin' Robin" by Bobby Day.  Often working in the television and movie industry, he performed the saxophone solo on the theme for The Odd Couple and he is possibly most remembered as the saxophonist playing the lead on "The Pink Panther Theme" by Henry Mancini.  He played with several bands such as the name-only group B. Bumble & The Stingers, various swing and jazz ensembles, and also became a member of The Merv Griffin Show studio band in 1970, which he stayed with for fifteen years.  The other artists he has performed with must number into the hundreds, if not thousands and a few of them include Mama Cass, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, The Coasters, Nat King Cole, Albert Collins, Julie Covington, Fats Domino, Dr. John, Billy Eckstine, Etta James, Jan & Dean, Quincy Jones, Nicolette Larson, Peggy Lee, Lyle Lovett, The Manhattan Transfer, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Joni Mitchell, Maria Muldaur, Rick Nelson, Aaron Neville, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Lou Rawls, Minnie Riperton, Johnny Rivers, Tommy Roe, Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Smith, Barbra Streisand, Teena Marie, Mel Torme, The Turtles, Sarah Vaughan, Tom Waits, Deniece Williams and Nancy Wilson.  His recordings could probably fill a room and a very small selection of them includes his own Blues, Bop Me Daddy, Christmas in Hollywood, Evening Delight, Hot, Blue & Saxy. Keep That Groove Going! and Positively as well as Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Paradise and Lunch by Ry Cooder, Ain't That Good News by Sam Cooke, Rita Coolidge by Rita Coolidge, Que Sera, Sera by Doris Day, Christmas Album by Neil Diamond, Best of the Song Books: The Collection by Ella Fitzgerald, Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye, Masterpiece by The Isley Brothers, Duets by Elton John, Talkin' Verve by Quincy Jones, L.A. Midnight by B.B. King, Porgy & Bess by Cleo Laine & Ray Charles, Music by Carole King, Miss Gladys Knight by Gladys Knight, The Best Days of My Life by Johnny Mathis, Kate & Anna McGarrigle by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. by The Monkees, Stars & Stripes Forever by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, What's New by Linda Ronstadt & The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Lady Sings the Blues by Diana Ross, Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs, Complete Capitol Sessions by Frank Sinatra, Back to Mono (1958-1969) by Phil Spector, Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan, Night on the Town by Rod Stewart, Acid Queen by Tina Turner and Hot! Live and Otherwise by Dionne Warwick.  Today he is still seen making appearances at various jazz festivals with his own group and continuing to appear on recordings.

     

    Johnny Mathis recordings
    The Best Days of My Life (Jack Gold/Arnold Goland/Carsten Christiansen

    Gone, Gone, Gone (L. Russell Brown/Lance Hayward)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.plasjohnson.com/
    2. http://www.plasjohnson.com/PJ/Biography/index.htm
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plas_Johnson
    4. http://www.spaceagepop.com/johnson.htm
    5. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=19923
    6. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=PLAS|JOHNSON&sql=11:3ifrxqt5ldfe~T4
    7. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifrxqt5ldfe~2~T40B
    8. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifrxqt5ldfe~3~T40B
    9. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifrxqt5ldfe~4~T40B
    10. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3ifrxqt5ldfe~5~T40B

     

    Here he is performing his famous solo on Henry Mancini's "The Pink Panther Theme" with The Terry Gibbs Band...

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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