Paul Johnson received his musical training at Interlochen Arts Academy and Arizona State University. He studied with Jerry McKenzie of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Norman Fickett of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Mark Sunkett, Ralph Humphries of the Frank Zappa Band, and the illustrious Jeff Hamilton.
Paul’s early professional career included international tours with The Four Freshmen, The Ink Spots, The Four Lads, The Pied Pipers, Donald O’Connor, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore, and The Lettermen. He has performed with the touring Broadway shows, ”Annie” and “Godspell”. He has backed up such stars as Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Melissa Manchester, Mel Torme, Pat Boone, Vikki Carr, and Ella Fitzgerald. Paul also spent time touring with the legendary Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd performing with Al Cohn, Clark Terry, and the great Joe Williams at Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Johnson is the recipient of two consecutive grants from Arts International to perform at jazz festivals throughout Europe. He also received a touring grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to perform historical transcriptions of Jelly Roll Morton and Jack Teagarden throughout North America and Europe. Paul also fronts a jazz quintet with some of L.A.’s finest players appearing in local venues.
As a current member of the award-winning Side Street Strutters Jazz Band, Paul appears regularly with symphony orchestras including: the Houston Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Wichita Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Orlando Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the York Symphony Orchestra, the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, and the Long Beach Pops Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Johnson has given command performances for the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland in Bern, and for President Ronald Reagan at the White House, Washington, D.C.
In addition to his busy private teaching schedule, Paul conducts clinics and master classes for jr. high, high school, and college students across the United States under the auspices of the California Arts Council, Community Concerts Association, and “Live On Stage”. Paul is currently on faculty at Saddleback College school of Fine Arts as percussion and drum set instructor.