Plas Johnson is an American jazz saxophonist known for his versatile and expressive playing style. Born on July 21, 1931, in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, Johnson began playing the saxophone at a young age and quickly developed a reputation as a skilled and innovative musician.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Johnson became a highly sought-after session musician, playing on countless recordings for artists in a variety of genres, including rock and roll, R&B, and jazz. He is perhaps best known for his iconic saxophone solo on the song “The Pink Panther Theme” from the 1963 film of the same name.
Johnson’s playing style was characterized by its smooth, melodic sound and his ability to convey a wide range of emotions through his playing. He was equally comfortable playing ballads and up-tempo numbers, and his skill as a soloist made him a highly respected collaborator and sideman.
Throughout his career, Johnson recorded numerous albums as a bandleader, including “This Must Be Plas” (1961) and “Positively” (1966). He also worked with a number of other jazz legends, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman.
Johnson’s contributions to jazz were recognized with numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Today, Johnson is recognized as one of the greatest saxophonists in jazz history, and his legacy as a performer and innovator continues to inspire new generations of musicians. His smooth sound and expressive playing style have made him an enduring icon of the saxophone and a beloved figure in the jazz community.
Last updated 3/26/2023.