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Steve Johns

Steve Johns was born Stephen Samuel Johns November 25,1960 in Boston, MA and began playing the drums at the age of nine. Mr. Johns grew up in a very musical family. His mother, Goldie Tyler Johns, was a songwriter and three of her brothers were jazz musicians. One of these brothers was the late great Jimmy “Bottoms up”Tyler, a well- known jazz saxophonist that would prove to be Steve’s biggest musical influence and inspiration. At the age of fifteen, Steve decided to pursue jazz as a life long ambition. Steve’s uncle Jimmy suggested that he should get serious and study with the great drummer and master teacher Alan Dawson. With that advice, Steve began an intense three-year study with Mr. Dawson. Steve also studied with Boston based drum guru Bob Gullotti.

While in high school, Steve participated in many musical activities such as concert band and jazz band. Steve also won chairs in district jazz band and all state jazz band. In 1979, after graduating Natick High School, Mr. Johns enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and studied classical percussion with Fred Buda and Vic Firth. While at NEC, Steve met and played around Boston with local greats James Williams, Billy Pierce, Jimmy Mosher, Miroslav Vitous, Jerry Bergonzi, Tiger Okoshi, Mick Goodrick, Jeff Berlin and Mike Stern.

In the spring of 1982, Steve decided he would take his chances and move to New York City. Shortly after arriving, he started meeting and working with some of the great known and unknown young jazz musicians at the time such as Joe Locke, Ralph Moore, Bill Evans, Steve Slagle, Conrad Herwig, Vincent Herring, Kevin Eubanks, Rodney Jones, Lonnie Plaxico, Dennis Erwin, Dave Stryker and Benny Green.

Over the past twenty years Steve Johns has worked, recorded and collaborated with: Donald Byrd, Nat Adderley, Larry Willis, Walter Booker, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson The Count Basie Orchestra under Frank Foster, Gil Evans Orchestra under Gil and Miles Evans, Jesseye Norman, George Russell, Don Friedman, Lou Donaldson, The Vanguard Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi/ Lew Tabakin Big Band, The Bob Mintzer Quartet and Big Band, John Hicks, George Cables, Peter Leitch, Larry Coryell, Peter Warren, Peter Yellin, Valerey Ponamarov, Junior Cook, Leon Thomas, The Sonny Fortune Quartet, Frank Morgan, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Illinois Jacquet, The Billy Taylor trio, Michael Brecker, The Randy Brecker Quintet, Steve Kahn, Helen Merrill, Jack McDuff, Thomas Chapin Trio, Peter Brainin, Mario Pavone, Diane Schuur, Marty Ehrlich, Stanley Turrentine, Slide Hampton, Kenny Burrell, John McNeil, Mingus Big Band, Dakota Staton, The Jon Faddis Quartet and many others. Steve was the drummer for NPR’s “Billy Taylor’s Jazz at The Kennedy Center” in which he recorded 75 shows with guest including Wynton Marsalis, Nancy Wilson, Joe Lavano, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Barreto, Milt Jackson, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington, Gary Burton, Harry Sweet Edison etc.

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Album Review

Peter Hand: Blue Topaz

Read "Blue Topaz" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Peter Hand has a hand in almost everything on Blue Topaz, playing masterful guitar, writing seven of the album's ten engaging numbers and arranging all of them. He also spliced together a pair of blue-chip ensembles for his first small-group recording after three well-received big-band albums, and invited his longtime friend--and legendary tenor saxophonist--Houston Person to sit in on two tracks. Person had also guested on one of the guitarist's big-band recordings, Out of Hand (2014). Hand's ...

Album Review

David Janeway: Interchange

Read "Interchange" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Unearthing and releasing old music--even sounds sourced from decades old tapes--has become common in jazz. Pianist Bill Evans (thank you. Zev Feldman) has enjoyed something of a twenty-first-century renaissance. Pianist Fred Hersch released @ The Village Vanguard (Palmetto Records, 2018), recorded in 1997; and 2021 saw the posthumous release from pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, Hanamichi (Red Hook), recorded in 2013. Pianist David Janeway has been on the scene since the late 70s; he offered up the marvelous Distant Voices ...

Album Review

Meredith d'Ambrosio: Sometime Ago

Read "Sometime Ago" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Dopo dieci anni di silenzio discografico è un gran piacere ascoltare un nuovo album della cantante di Boston, il diciassettesimo per la Sunnyside, con cui pubblica dalla metà degli anni ottanta, qualche anno dopo il suo debutto. Più che cantante Meredith preferisce definirsi “song stylist" e tale resta all'età di 81 anni, senza perdere un grammo di classe interpretativa e pregevole essenzialità. Con l'età il timbro s'è irrobustito, conferendo nuove ombreggiature al suo eloquio ma intonazione e ...

Album Review

Eric Goletz: Standard-ized!

Read "Standard-ized!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If variety is on your wish list, you will find a lot to like on Standard-ized!, New York-based trombonist Eric Goletz's third album in three years. Group size and makeup are seldom the same, Goletz's charts traverse new realms, there are special guests to enhance the proceedings, and Goletz even enlists a six-piece string “orchestra" on several numbers. The strings accompany one of the guests, vocalist LaJuan Carter, on the Nat King Cole chart-topper, “Nature Boy," and ...

Album Review

Eric Goletz: A New Light

Read "A New Light" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Eric Goletz is a virtuoso trombonist who also writes and arranges. On first hearing, his core band may put some in mind of Chase, Bill Chase's high-flying group that featured both vocals and technically demanding trumpet. Goletz has something similar going on. The music opens with “Prelude: Before the Light" and “A New Light," with a stinging solo by guitarist Henry Heinitsch. Goletz, it may be observed, is the logical outcome of jazz-rock and funk meets brass ...

Album Review

Eric Goletz: A New Light

Read "A New Light" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Trombonist Eric Goletz, an in-demand studio musician and sideman in New York City for three decades, released his first album as leader of his own ensemble in March 2021, and quickly followed with the second, A New Light, wherein his core octet is bolstered by three trumpets, half a dozen horns and a five-member string section. Among his more well-known teammates are trumpeter Randy Brecker, pianist Jim Ridl, keyboardist Allen Farnham and drummer Steve Johns. Goletz' musical ...

Album Review

Ray Blue: Work

Read "Work" reviewed by Edward Blanco

New York-based and bred, tenor saxophonist Ray Blue is no novice but a veteran player who has not received the accolades he so deserves. Perhaps after laying down and documenting an incredible volume of music on Work, the spotlight will shine a little brighter on this unheralded player. A composer and educator, as well as one of the most in-demand musicians in New York, Blue is a soulful performer, a full-throated sax man with a fluid and lyrical style which ...

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Performance / Tour

John Richmond QT with George Cables, Bill Moring, Steve Johns-Sweet Rhythm-Wed Sept 12

John Richmond QT with George Cables, Bill Moring, Steve Johns-Sweet Rhythm-Wed Sept 12

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Tenor and soprano saxophonist John Richmond Quartet return engagement

Sweet Rhythm Wednesday September 12, 2007 Sets 8pm and 10pm

with: George Cables, piano Bill Moring, bass Steve Johns, drums

88 Seventh Avenue South (at Bleecker St) New York, NY 10014 (212) 255-3626

“Saxophonist John Richmond was one of the most promising young voices on his instrument when he emerged in the eighties playing with the bands ...





Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

You Remind Me

Whaling City Sound


Blue Topaz

Whaling City Sound



Consolidated Artists Productions



Steeplechase Lookout


Music Keeps Us Young

Arkadia Records


Sometime Ago

Sunnyside Records


Hand-Me-Down Blues

From: Blue Topaz
By Steve Johns



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