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Dink Johnson

Dink Johnson - piano, clarinet, drums (1892 - 1954)

Dink Johnson was a multi talented musician who played a swinging, stomping, Jelly Roll like piano, was in a seminal band on drums and piano, and also recorded on clarinet in early jazz history He had a repertoire of tunes as unique as his style, containing many tunes of his own and other tunes long forgotten. Dink had a rollicking, contagious sense of humor which comes through on his recordings.

Ollie ‘Dink’ Johnson was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, younger brother of bass player/bandleader Bill Johnson, who was King Oliver's great bassist. He worked as a piano player around Mississippi and New Orleans before moving to the western United States by 1911, where he surfaced helping his sister Bessie better known as Anita Gonzales, run a bar the Arcade in Los Angeles. He played mostly in California, often with his brother Bill. Most prominently he played with the Original Creole Orchestra (mostly on drums). During this period he also played with Jelly Roll Morton.

He made his first recordings in 1922 on clarinet with Kid Ory's Band, on the Sunshine label.

For many years he was based in Los Angeles, California where he led The Five Hounds of Jazz in the 1920s and later ran a bar.

He made more recordings in the ‘40s through ‘50s, for labels as American Music, (‘46-47) Euphonic (‘48) Nola, (‘50) and Delmark. He recorded mostly on piano, although also doing some “One man band” recordings, playing all three of his instruments through over dubbing.

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