Post by Emerald City on Dec 19, 2005 19:36:42 GMT -5
One of the few classically trained musicians in the Funk Brothers ranks, Johnny was Hitsville’s ‘Hired Gun’, having never signed the exclusive recording contract under which most of Motown’s rhythm section musicians worked. Originally lured into the company in 1961 hoping to record jazz, Johnny often moonlighted on hits for other R&B record labels around Detroit and in Chicago.
While he did get the opportunity to record two albums on Motown’s Workshop Jazz label, his true value down in Studio A was in the delicate touch with which he played that so perfectly complimented Earl Van Dyke’s ‘gorilla piano’ style. This two keyboard approach had Earl and Johnny spending the next decade trading off on acoustic piano, Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer electric piano.