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Entries - Entry Category: Jazz - Starting with J

Jazz Music

With New Orleans, Louisiana, and Kansas City, Missouri, emerging as the booming urban epicenters of jazz music and inevitably spilling this music and culture across interstate lines, Arkansas began to see a number of touring “territory bands” sprout up around the state in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Some of the first included Sterling Todd’s Rose City Orchestra; the Quinn Band out of Fort Smith (Sebastian County); and the Synco Six out of Helena (Phillips County), led by banjo player Gene Crooke. All three bands were at some point joined by Arkansas’s first major jazz musician, pianist Alphonso E. “Phonnie” Trent. Trent played with the Rose City Orchestra and the Quinn Band during his teenage years before eventually taking …

Johnson, Richard Leo

Richard Leo Johnson is an architectural and fine-art photographer whose early work documented everyday experience in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas, where he was raised. Johnson is also a renowned guitarist and composer who has released albums of virtuosic instrumental music on the Blue Note and Cuneiform labels. Richard Johnson was born in El Dorado (Union County) to A. J. Johnson and Nadine Johnson on May 18, 1955, his mother’s birthday and parents’ anniversary. He grew up there with his brother, Joe, and sister, Carol Ann, graduating from El Dorado High School in 1973. As a teenager, Johnson was given a homemade cassette containing two albums: on one side was The Inner Mounting Flame by John McLaughlin’s jazz–rock band the …