The First Lady of Smooth Jazz
Grammy Nominated Keyboardist & Long-time Musical Director for Norman Brown
Brings Some Much Needed “Joy Joy” Into the Universe With JAZZ IN PINK’S NEW SINGLE featuring Kim Waters
Jhonson Will Release Her Shanachie Debut Album Jazz In Pink featuring
Her All-Star Female Band Summer 2020
Hailing from the City Of Brotherly Love, Grammy nominated keyboardist Gail Jhonson adds to Philadelphia’s legacy of pioneering music luminaries. “I am proud to be a part of the Philly sound. When I was growing up, you couldn’t walk too far before you heard a band or some instruments practicing,” recalls Jhonson, who is affectionately dubbed the “First Lady Of Smooth Jazz.” “I share the same love of orchestral instruments, horn sections, vocal groups and rhythm sections, that was made famous by TSOP, Bell, Huff, Harris, Creed, Wanzel.,” shares the keyboardist. “Oh such a long list of my composition heroes!” With this rich tradition being a part of Gail Jhonson’s undeniable musical DNA, it is no surprise that she was performing professionally by the age of 14. “I love it so much,” she confides. “I don’t know why, I just think it chose me!”
This summer Gail Jhonson will release her Shanachie debut album featuring her all-star female band, Jazz In Pink. Jhonson, who is a woman on a mission, created the ensemble as a way to address her concern that women are under represented on the jazz scene particularly as instrumentalists. “Traditionally, most vocalists played piano, but were encouraged to only present their vocal skills on stage, while their instrumental expression was suppressed,” she explains, “Our ensemble is dedicated to the blending of piano-violin-flute-harp as a core presentation: orchestral instruments playing melodically over the rhythm section (bass-drums-guitar-percussion). Add in jazzy R&B vocals, and that female energy of passion, beauty and fire; creates sheer Sisterness of rhythm, composition, performance and the pink principal-all expressed on stages that inspire. We wear pink, our fans wear pink, which shows we are all in solidarity and resonate together in our brand of musical expression.”
Gail Jhonson’s first single of her anticipated new CD is the intoxicating, uplifting and jubilant “Joy Joy,” which just debuted in the Top 30 of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. The track is a spotlight for Jhonson as she welcomes two special guests, saxophonist Kim Waters and guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. Jhonson and Waters’ connection extends back many years, as the two have collaborated through the years with guitarist Norman Brown. Jhonson says, “Working with Kim in the studio gave me a deeper appreciation for his talent and his spirit as a person. He took ‘Joy Joy’ to another level, infusing his own joy of sax…..what a consummate musician.” Jhonson wrote the song with her writing partner, Gino Valentino.
Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz and A&R for Shanachie Entertainment states, “As Norman Brown’s long time music director, it’s obvious that Gail Jhonson is a superb musician. But it’s the warmth and inner spirit that infuses her music that make her truly special. It’s a joy to be associated with her.”
An alumni of Berklee College of Music, where she earned a degree in composition, Gail Jhonson is based in Los Angeles, where she is an in-demand player on the scene. She has held down the role as Music Director for Grammy winning guitarist Norman Brown for over two decades. “I resonate with Norman’s music and his full expression on stage is stellar. He trusts me with the flow of his show, and knows that the best I have to offer is always there,” shares Jhonson. A musician’s musician, whose musical arsenal draws from the worlds of straight-ahead Jazz, R&B, Funk and Gospel, Jhonson has collaborated with a wide cross-section of artists from Bobby Womack, Janet Jackson, Pink and Morris Day (Time) to Sheila E., Ray Parker Jr., Peabo Bryson and Patti Austin.
Gail Jhonson’s free musical spirit, keen musicianship and captivating energy make her a joy to be behold. With the release of “Joy Joy” and her Shanachie debut due out this Summer, the sky is the limit. “Everyone is waiting and anticipating! Folks all over the country are sending me screenshots of the radio when the song comes on! That’s a beautiful thing, when music moves you to excitement and pushes you to look forward to the future,” confides Jhonson. “It offers you a glimpse of freedom from worry and other issues that life causes us to tend to. I’m hoping this new CD will be a momentary light and an everlasting love for music fans all around the globe.”