Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

Johnny Otis

Johnny Otis - drums, piano, bandleader, producer, composer, R&B Legend!

Johnny Otis was born December 28, 1921 in Vallejo, California. He grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Berkeley, California, where his father owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store. He began his musical career in 1939 as a drummer with Count Otis Matthew's West Oakland House Rockers. In 1943, at the recommendation of Nat “King” Cole and Jimmy Witherspoon, he moved to Los Angeles to join Harlan Leonard's Kansas City Rockets at the Club Alabam. By 1945 he was leading his own band, and had his first big hit that year with “Harlem Nocturne”. In 1948 he joined with Bardu and Tila Ali, and Johnny Miller to open The Barrelhouse in Los Angeles, which was the first nightclub to feature Rhythm & Blues exclusively. In 1950 he had ten songs that made the Top 10 on Billboard Magazine's Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records list. With this success, he went on the road with his California Rhythm & Blues Caravan, and became the hottest musical attraction in black America. In the early 1950's, remaining active as a writer, performer, and producer, Johnny began a radio career and became one of the most popular disc jockeys in southern California. His career in radio has now spanned almost 50 years. His early radio broadcast success led to a weekly variety show on television. “The Johnny Otis Show” was on TV in Los Angeles for eight years.

Read more
January 21, 2012

Johnny Otis (1921-2012)

2 Photos

Albums

Videos

Similar

Ray Charles Ray Charles
piano
Louis Jordan Louis Jordan
sax, alto
Etta James Etta James
vocalist
Fats Domino Fats Domino
piano
Charles Brown Charles Brown
vocalist
Big Joe Turner Big Joe Turner
vocalist
Earl Bostic Earl Bostic
sax, alto
Lucky Millinder Lucky Millinder
composer/conductor
Bo Diddley Bo Diddley
guitar
Percy Mayfield Percy Mayfield
vocalist
Big Jay McNeely Big Jay McNeely
sax, tenor

Premium Profiles

Rob Reddy Rob Reddy
saxophone
Stu Harrison Stu Harrison
piano
Behn Gillece Behn Gillece
vibraphone
Anton Schwartz Anton Schwartz
sax, tenor
Greg Poppleton Greg Poppleton
vocalist
Kathy Sanborn Kathy Sanborn
composer/conductor
Hilary Kole Hilary Kole
vocalist
Carol Albert Carol Albert
piano
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Kayle Brecher Kayle Brecher
vocalist
Phil Allen Phil Allen
trombone
LJ Folk LJ Folk
vocalist

All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.