Oliver Johnson

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b. 28 October 1892, Biloxi, Missouri, USA, d. 29 November 1954, Portland, Oregon, USA. Johnson (aka Dink), played the piano, clarinet and drums. He learned the piano playing around Storyville in the years…
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b. 28 October 1892, Biloxi, Missouri, USA, d. 29 November 1954, Portland, Oregon, USA. Johnson (aka Dink), played the piano, clarinet and drums. He learned the piano playing around Storyville in the years before World War I. Although he never achieved great technical proficiency he played in a rough and ready way with a great deal of humour. In 1913 he went to California and joined the Original Creole Band playing drums. He only stayed with the band for a year but when he left them he remained in California recording on drums with his brother-in-law, pianist Jelly Roll Morton and later on clarinet with Kid Ory. During the 20s he led a band called the Five Hounds Of Jazz which became the Los Angeles Six for a residency in Chicago in 1924. He returned to California to play around clubs and eventually settled in Las Vegas playing the piano in his sister’s bar. Although he ceased performing in the 40s he continued to record. (NB: Not to be confused with the jazz drummer of the same name, who was born in 1944 and died on 7 March 2002 in Paris, France.)