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Bill Johnson


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There are a lot of musicians called Bill Johnson. There is even a blues lyric: “Early this mornin’ ‘bout half past four, I seen Bill Johnson comin’ out your door.” Yes, but which one?
Some of them are:
# 1 - Bill Johnson was a rock & roll and rhythm & blues musician. He recorded “You Better Dig It” for Talos Records as Bill Johnson & The Four Steps Of Rhythm. And he was part of Sam & Bill.

# 2 - William Manuel “Bill” Johnson (August 10, 1872 – December 3, 1972), was an American jazz musician, considered the father of the “slap” style of string bass playing.
Johnson claimed to have started “slapping” the strings of his bass (a more vigorous technique than the classical pizzicato) after he accidentally broke his bow on the road with his band in northern Louisiana in the early 1910s. Other New Orleans string bass players picked up this style, and spread it across the country with the spread of New Orleans Jazz.
Johnson was founder and manager of the first jazz band to leave New Orleans and tour widely in the 1910s, The Original Creole Orchestra.
In Chicago in the early 1920s he assembled King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, considered perhaps the best of the early ensemble style jazz bands. He taught younger Chicago musicians (including Milt Hinton) his “slap” style of string bass playing. He made many fine recordings in Chicago in the late 1920s.


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