Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mourning Jazz Saxophonist Rudy Johnson

This message was sent to us from Arnett Howard
Jazz People,

We are celebrating the life of Los Angeles resident and former Columbus saxophonist Rudolph (Rudy) Johnson, who, according to pianist Bobby Pierce, died Sunday, August 19, 2007, in California from complications of diabetes related illnesses. The funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, August 25, 2007, 2 pm. at the Simpson Funeral Home, 3443 West Manchester, Los Angeles, 90305, (323) 752-5524.

Gene Walker claims to have taught Rudy the scales on tenor sax when they were students at Champion Junior High. Bobby Pierce said that they lived near each other off Taylor Avenue in Columbus' East side. Bobby said that he heard Rudy practicing hours each day and approached him out of curiosity. Rudy and Bobby practiced, played together constantly for a year and worked their way to California. Bobby credits Rudy's confidence and patient training for getting him the music education and experience that made him a complete musician.

Rudy recorded few titles under his own name; Second Coming and Spring Rain were released on Black Jazz Records, in 1971 and 1974. His claim to fame was working with the Ray Charles Orchestra for thirty years as tenor sax soloist. Samples of the two long play albums are at the following sites.

God be with the soul of Rudy Johnson, our musical ancestor.


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