James P. Johnson (James Price Johnson, also known as Jimmy Johnson; February 1, 1894 – November 17, 1955) was an African-American pianist and composer. A pioneer of the stride style of jazz piano, he along with Jelly Roll Morton, were arguably the two most important pianists who bridged the ragtime and jazz eras, and the two most important catalysts in the evolution of ragtime piano into jazz. As such, he was a model for Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and his more famous pupil, Fats Waller. Johnson composed many hit tunes including the theme song of the Roaring Twenties, "Charleston" and "If I Could be With You One Hour Tonight" and remained the acknowledged king of New York jazz pianists until he was dethroned c. 1933 by the recently arrived Art Tatum, who is widely acknowledged by jazz critics as the most technically proficient jazz pianist of all time. Johnson's artistry, his significance in the subsequent development of jazz piano, and his large contribution to American musical theatre, are often overlooked, and as such, he has been referred to by Reed College musicologist David Schiff, as "The Invisible Pianist".
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“Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.”
—Samuel Johnson (17091784)
“... if we take the universe of fitting, countless coats fit backs, and countless boots fit feet, on which they are not practically fitted; countless stones fit gaps in walls into which no one seeks to fit them actually. In the same way countless opinions fit realities, and countless truths are valid, tho no thinker ever thinks them.”
—William James (18421910)