Born: October 21, 1953 Primary Instrument: Bass
As a virtuoso bassist, versatile composer, and acclaimed bandleader, Marc Johnson has been a major innovator on the jazz scene for the past two decades.
Born in Nebraska in 1953, Johnson took up bass at the age of 16, having already studied piano and cello. While completing his formal education in the celebrated music program at the University of North Texas, at age19, Johnson began performing professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony. In 1977, he was on the road with the Woody Herman Band. A stop with Herman in New York City marked a major turning point for Johnson, where he was invited to sit in with Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard. In 1978, he joined Evans' trio, remaining with him until the pianist's death two years later. Johnson appears on numerous albums recorded with Evans, including the Grammy-winning We Will Meet Again and released in 1997, a six-CD box set of live recordings, Turn Out the Stars, weaving his distinctively warm tones and melodic lines into the complex harmonies of the Trio. I was still a very young player when I was with Bill, Johnson says, “but by playing with him night after night I matured a lot....