Gus Johnson


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Musician, Drummer

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Gus Johnson played drums for several big bands and jazz bands during his long career, but may be best remembered for the work he did backing up vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald during her 1960s world tours. Gus played in Jay McShann's Orchestra for years and performed with Count Basie and Coleman Hawkins. Gus served in the United States Army during World War II and upon his return worked in the Jesse Miller Band before joining Count Basie in time to record their now famous album Basie Rides Again in 1952.


Image courtesy of the Downbeat archives.