One of the top big band drummers of the 1920's and 30's (and influenced a bit by Kaiser Marshall), Walter Johnson was a supportive and consistently swinging player. He worked with Freddy Johnson (1924), Bobby Brown, Elmer Snowden (off and on during 1925-28) and Te Roy Williams (1927) but became best-known for his playing with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra (1929-34 and also 1936-37 and 1941-42). Other swing era associations included the big bands of Sam Wooding (1934-35), LeRoy Smith (1935), Lucky Millinder (1938-39), Claude Hopkins (1939), Edgar Hayes (1940) and Coleman Hawkins. After his third stint with Henderson ended, Johnson freelanced for the remainder of his career, worked outside of music (as a bank guard), often playing with Tab Smith during the 1944-54 period and appearing with a variety of swing and mainstream combos into the 1960's. Walter Johnson never led his own record date but he recorded frequently during his prime years, most notably with Henderson.
Share this page