Johnson, James P(rice)

Johnson, James P(rice)

biographical name

(born Feb. 1, 1894, New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.—died Nov. 17, 1955, New York, N.Y.) U.S. pianist and composer, a chief figure in the transition of ragtime to jazz. Johnson was performing in saloons and at parties in New York City's African American community while still in his teens. He created the stride piano technique, a development of ragtime that used two-beat left-hand rhythms to accompany wide-ranging right-hand lines, in pieces such as “Carolina Shout” and “Harlem Strut.” He composed and orchestrated music for stage revues, including Keep Shufflin' (1928) with his student Fats Waller. His songs include “The Charleston” (largely responsible for the 1920s dance craze) and “Old Fashioned Love”; his large-scale works include the Harlem Symphony (1932).

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