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  •  

    Johnson, Walt

    Trumpeter whose father taught him how to play the cornet at the age of five and who went on to attend L.A. City College for two years before joining Si Zentner’s band as lead trumpet.  Eleven months into the gig, he was drafted into the U.S. military, and wound up serving a year in Vietnam, for which he was decorated with an Army Commendation Medal. 

     

    Upon returning home, he settled in Las Vegas where he stayed for seven years, leading the brass section for Elvis Presley.  After Elvis died, his musicians scattered, and Walt wound up blowing for Louie Bellson’s band.  He appeared on several Bellson albums, including Sunshine Rock, Matterhorn:  Louie Bellson Drum Explosion, and Dynamite!. 

     

    In 1979, Walt hooked up with Frank Sinatra on his boxed set, Trilogy.  It was a fruitful meeting, because he wound up playing with Sinatra five years later, and would stay with him until Frank retired in 1994.  In the meantime, Walt had made inroads with his son, Frank Sinatra, Jr., moonlighting with him from 1988 through the present day. 

     

    Other artists with whom he has worked include Burt Bacharach, The Commodores, Vic Damone, Jose Feliciano, Barry Gibb, Lionel Hampton, Gladys Knight, Barry Manilow, Wayne Newton, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Lalo Schifrin, Mel Torme, and Dionne Warwick.  Walt won gold and platinum albums with Manilow, Presley, and Richie. 

     

    In 1984, he played trumpet on the ill-fated Howie Mandel TV pilot, Welcome to the Fun Zone, with Weird Al Yankovic on guitar, no less. 

     

    The movies would be much friendlier to Walt:  He appeared on the soundtracks of Aladdin, Beverly Hills Cop III, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Doctor Detroit, Into the Night, the three Naked Gun films, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Rocky, Star Wars, and Terms of Endearment. 

     

    He has finally made in-roads as a solo artist, as well, on the jazz albums Trumpet Scroll and Warmth of the Sun, and as author of the book, Double High C in Ten Minutes. 

     

    Sources:

    1. http://members.aol.com/Vikster288/jazz/johnson.htm
    2. http://profile.myspace.com
    3. http://great-music.net/wjohnson.html
    4. http://www.smooth-jazz.de/starportrait/Johnson/WarmthoftheSun.htm
    5. http://www.r-o-d-d-y-t-r-u-m-p-e-t.cc/johnson.html
    6. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/credits/0,,556744,00.html
    7. http://books.google.com/books
    8. http://www.filmreference.com/film/9/Howie-Mandel.html
    9. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=8738
    10. http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=745166
    11. http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/artist/album/0,,847832,00.html
    12. http://www.paulcacia.com/buyCDs.htm
    13. http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/770765
    14. http://mac.mmguide.musicmatch.com/album/album.cgi?ALBUMID=710486
    15. http://www.dougpayne.com/lsd86_95.htm
    16. http://members.jcom.home.ne.jp/bigband/favorite/bellson2.htm
    17. lcweb2.loc.gov/natlib/ihas/warehouse/jots/200028017/0001.pdf
    18. http://www.cdbt.hu

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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