b. Williams Manuel Johnson, 10 August 1872 or 1874, New Orleans, Louisiana, or Talladega, Alabama, USA, d. 3 December 1972, New Braunfels, Texas, USA. Johnson was among the earliest bass players in jazz. He first took up the harmonica and then the guitar. A member of all the best known bands, Johnson left New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century. He also helped found the Original Creole Band with which he toured California. A possibly apocryphal story relates how Johnson, who originally used a bowed bass, broke his bow in the course of a gig and had to continue by plucking the strings and thus established the tradition of playing jazz bass pizzicato that has continued ever since. From 1918-24 he worked with King Oliver and laid the foundation of the style which Pops Foster did so much to develop.
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