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Dean Johnson

In the last few years Dean has performed with numerous groups including the New York Voices, and in special concerts with jazz artists Fred Hirsch, Jane Ira Bloom and Art Lande. He also performs regularly with pipa virtuoso Min Xioa-Fen and guitarist Steve Salerno in the Blue Pipa Trio, performing their eclectic combination of jazz, bluegrass and Chinese folk songs. As bassist for vocalist Roseanna Vitro, Dean has performed as a U.S. Jazz Ambassador in the Balkans, Kazahkstan and Kyrgystan, as well as a live recording at the Kennedy Center featuring pianist Kenny Werner, and a recording project celebrating the music of Randy Newman featuring Mark Soskin. He has performed, recorded and toured for over six years with vibraphonist Mark Sherman and a quartet including drummer Tim Horner and pianist Allen Farnham. Dean performed over the last eleven years with vocalist Kendra Shank along with pianist Frank Kimbrough and drummer Tony Moreno. Dean has an ongoing collaborative relationship with saxophonists Bob Kindred & Hayes Greenfield, guitarists Jay Azzolina & Bruce Arnold.

Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1956, Dean studied Bass Violin with a number of bassists, including the renowned Gary Peacock. Dean also studied piano and composition at the Cornish Institute, in Seattle, with James Knapp and from 1974 to 1976, attended the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, studying with bassists Rich Appleman, John Neves, and studying theory, composition, and arranging with John LaPorta and Herb Pomeroy.

Since arriving in New York, in 1980, Dean has been busy freelancing with a wide variety of artists in the Northeast, and has had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and numerous tours of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, and Israel. Some of the eclectic array of artists Dean has been and continues to be involved with over that time include: Dave Liebman, Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Phil Woods, Grover Washington, Dave Grusin, Lew Tabackin, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Kuhn, Dave Samuels, Ron Afiff, Dave Douglas, Paul McCandless, Nguyen Le, Art Lande, Ray Anderson, Walter Norris, Maurizio Giammarco, Bill Mays, Vic Juris, Billy Harper, Art Farmer, Nick Brignola, Ronny Cuber, Rob McConnell, Dave Kikoski, Bill Frisell, Albert Dailey, Mike Metheny, John McNeil, Hayes Greenfield, and Vocalists Sheila Jordan, Jackie and Roy, Mark Murphy, Carol Sloane and Helen Merrill.

Gerry Mulligan however is Dean's most prominent association. Dean spent over 10 years with Mr. Mulligan until his passing in 1996 in a variety of musical situations including the Quartet, Nonet, Big Band, and with symphony orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Dean performed in these Mulligan ensembles in concerts and jazz festivals all over the world as well as numerous recordings along with a number of well-known pianists that were in the group over that time including Harold Danko, Bill Mays, Bill Charlap, and Ted Rosenthal.

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6
Album Review

Bill Mays Trio: Autumn Serenade

Read "Autumn Serenade" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


In Autumn Serenade, Bill Mays gifts us a bountiful harvest of seasonally-bound beauties. This 40th leader date from the eminent pianist finds him fronting a trio with two longtime colleagues--bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Ron Vincent--and welcoming vocalist Judy Kirtley and producer/guitarist Matt Balitsaris for guest appearances on a single track. Together, all parties join up for a musical journey filled with reflection and romance. Opening on the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman-associated “Autumn Serenade," Mays makes good on ...

3
Album Review

Paul Jost: While We Were Gone

Read "While We Were Gone" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci


According to Francis Bacon, some books are to be tasted and others to be swallowed whole. Likewise with recordings. Some are to be sampled. Others are to be thoroughly assimilated. Where the listener lands with Paul Jost will depend on a host of things. Are you political? If so, are you progressive? Then by all means, this recording is for you. Jost's soliloquy, “January 6th: An Appeal for Reason" will no doubt be convincing. If your politics are ...

3
Album Review

Roseanna Vitro: Sing a Song of Bird

Read "Sing a Song of Bird" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Roseanne Vitro is one of those jazz singers who falls into the category of “I recognize the voice, but I just can't seem to place her." She has more than a respectable discography which stretches back to 1982, when she released her debut album Listen Here for the Texas Rose label. Her fall 2021 album, Sing A Song Of Bird, is a combination of abundance of attitude and perseverance, since it is composed of two separate sessions (one recorded in ...

108
Album Review

Dan Wilensky: Group Therapy

Read "Group Therapy" reviewed by Charles Walker


Tenor saxophonist Dan Wilensky possesses a warm, accessible tone on his instrument, and at first glance Group Therapy seems tailor-made to feature this broad, bluesy sound on ten straightforward compositions. However, less than two minutes into “Reckless Tongue," the album opener, the syrupy head breaks down into a standstill of rests and whole notes before sliding back into the relaxed groove that carries the tune the rest of the way. This brief moment of suspense perfectly encapsulates what makes the ...

195
Album Review

Dan Wilensky: Group Therapy

Read "Group Therapy" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Group therapy involves a collection of individuals coming together to work things out and sort through their thoughts in the same room. The same can be said for saxophonist Dan Wilensky's Group Therapy. Wilensky's wide-ranging career has involved everything from street playing and studio sessions to Broadway and a stint in Ray Charles' band. All of his experiences have helped him flesh out a personal sound that touches on everything from loose swing and free jazz to faux-Arabian fare.

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Concerts

Jun 1 Sat
Zach Brock Quartet
Deer Head Inn
Delaware Water Gap, PA

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Autumn Serenade

Sunnyside Records
2023

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Love In The City

Nana Notes Records
2022

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Thank You John: Our...

Arkadia Records
2022

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Thank You, Gerry!

Arkadia Records
2022

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The Mulligan...

Larsenjazz Productions
2021

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Sing a Song of Bird

Skyline Records
2021

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Afro Blue / Afro-Centric

From: Love In The City
By Dean Johnson

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