Calvin A. Johnson Jr (born November 21, 1985) is a saxophonist, composer
and bandleader born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Calvin’s
grandfather, George Augustus “Son” Johnson, was a musician who led WPA
bands during the Great Depression as well as taught musicians at the
Grumswald School of Music in New Orleans. Son Johnson and Mrs. Johnson
gave birth to 11 children, which included 5 boys and 6 girls. Of those 5
boys 4 were musicians musicians. George Johnson Jr., Ralph Johnson,
Alfred Johnson, and Lionel Johnson all have had illustrious careers in
their own respective rights.
Calvin praises his long time mentor and close friend Edward “Kidd”
Jordan who engrained an impenetrable foundation into him at the New
Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundations’ School of Music and the Louis
Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. Johnson was able to nurture and expand his
love and interest in the music business at the famed performing arts
high school the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), whose
alumnus include Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and
Wendell Pierce to name a few. At NOCCA under the instruction of the
legendary Clyde Kerr Jr. and Kent Jordan is where Calvin decided to
pursue music as a career.
Deeply rooted in music from both sides of his family tree, Calvin began
his approach to music and the love of the horn at the tender age of 7
when he was given his first saxophone by his Uncle Lionel who also gave
him weekly lessons immediately following the gift. At the age of 12
Calvin played his first professional gig at the famous Tipitina’s night
club in New Orleans with the New Orleans Jazz Babyz which included
fellow youths Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Omari Neville.
Johnson embodies the spiritual essence of his ancestors in his musical
expression; and community involvement through the Jazz Foundation of
America as a clinician; he is a vivid supporter of music in the City of
New Orleans and the youth within his city through the non-profit
“Trumpets Not Guns”. He also has the pleasure of giving back to the
community and the continuum of jazz through serving as a faculty member
of the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp.
Johnson heads Calvin Johnson’s CJQ and Chapter Soul and records these
bands under the label Alma Records.
Calvin has toured and/or recorded with the likes of: Harry Connick Jr.,
Aaron Neville, Jason Derulo, Mannie Fresh, Mystikal, Irvin Mayfield, the
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Bob French
and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. He has played many esteemed venues
and festivals such as: Jazz at Lincoln Center, the White House, Kodak
Theatre, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the French Quarter
Festival, and the Voodoo Music Festival.
Currently Calvin is on the set filming for the upcoming Hollywood
release “King Bolden!”, which is scheduled for world-wide release during
the fall of 2015.