James P. Johnson was an important transitional figure between ragtime and jazz piano styles. His style became known as Stride. As a boy, Johnson studied Classical music and Ragtime. He started playing professionally in a sporting house, and then progressed to rent parties, bars and vaudeville. He eventually became known as the best piano player on the East Coast and was widely utilized as an accompanist on over 400 recordings and from 1916 on, produced hundreds of piano rolls under his own name. He backed up many of the Classic Blues singers of the 1920s, such as Ida Cox, Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith. Johnson's 1921 recording of Carolina Shout is considered to be the first recorded Jazz piano solo by some critics, although it sounds a lot like Ragtime to this listener's ears. He wrote several musical revues, including "Running Wild" and "Plantation Days" and his 1928 collaboration with his former piano student Fats Waller, "Keep Shufflin'". His song Charleston from "Running Wild" was one of the best known and most widely recorded songs of 1920s. Other hits included "Old Fashioned Love" and "If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)". Johnson composed several symphonic works, which include "Yamecraw: A Negro Rhapsody" (1928), "Tone Poem" (1930), "Symphony Harlem " (1932), a symphonic version of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" (1937), and the one-act opera "De Organizer" (1940), with lyrics by Langston Hughes. None of his symphonic works were very popular and have seldom been performed. Johnson is generally considered the "Father of the Stride" piano, and was a major influence on some of Jazz's great pianists such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk.

Thanks to Owen Miller for his help with this page.

James P. Johnson's Harmony Eight Jimmy Johnson and his Band
Jimmy Johnson and his Orchestra Jimmy Johnson's Jazz Boys
Johnson's Jazzers James P. Johnson's Blue Note Jazz Men
Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
A Flat Dream
(James P. Johnson)
6-4-1939 New York, New York Columbia
37333
Ain't Cha Got Music?
(Andy Razaf / James P. Johnson)
6-1947 New York, New York Manhatten
504
Pumpkin
117
Ain't Cha Got Music?
(Andy Razaf / James P. Johnson)
6-5-1947 New York, New York Circle
3005
Aunt Hager's Blues
(W.C. Handy)
5-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Aunt Hager's Blues
(W.C. Handy)
5-1945 New York, New York Xtra
1024
A Porter's Love Song To A Chamber Maid
(James P. Johnson / Andy Razaf)
1944 New York, New York Decca
All That I Had Is Gone
(James P. Johnson)
2-25-1927 New York, New York Columbia
14204-D
Arkansas Blues 12-15-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
27-B
Back Water Blues (In Memory of Bessie Smith)
(Bessie Smith)
11-17-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
25-A
Back Water Blues
(Bessie Smith)
5-24-1947 New York, New York Pumpkin
117
Bleeding Hearted Blues
(Lovie Austin)
7-25-1923 Camden, New Jersey Victor
19123-A
Blue Moods (1) 1944 New York, New York Folkways
FG 3540
Blue Moods (2) 1944 New York, New York Folkways
FG 3540
Xtra
1024
Blue Moods, Sex 1944 New York, New York Folkways
FG 3540
Xtra
1024
Blues For Fats
(James P. Johnson)
12-18-1943 New York, New York Signature
28105
Blues For Jimmy 4-1945 New York, New York Selmer
7218
Cupol
9001
Folkways
FJ 2850
Blueberry Rhyme
(James P. Johnson)
6-4-1939 New York, New York CBS
Blueberry Rhyme
(James P. Johnson)
12-18-1943 New York, New York Signature
28105
Boogie Woogie Stride
(James P. Johnson)
7-2-1942 New York, New York Asch
1001 A
Caprice Rag
(James P. Johnson)
12-15-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
26
Caprice Rag
(James P. Johnson)
3-1-1947 New York, New York Rarities
33
Carolina Balmoral
(James P. Johnson)
11-17-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
25-B
Carolina Shout
(James P. Johnson)
10-18-1921 New York, New York Okeh
4495-B
Carolina Shout
(James P. Johnson)
12-23-1938 New York, New York Vanguard
Carolina Shout
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
Chocolate Bar 5-24-1947 New York, New York Pumpkin
117
Daintiness Rag
(James P. Johnson)
1943 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Daintiness Rag
(James P. Johnson)
6-5-1947 New York, New York Circle
3005
Fascination
(James P. Johnson)
6-4-1939 New York, New York CBS
Feeling Blue
(James P. Johnson)
1-29-1929 New York, New York Okeh
8770
Gut Stomp 11-17-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
24-B
Keep Movin' 4-1945 New York, New York Xtra
1024
Keep Movin' 4-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Keep Off The Grass
(James P. Johnson)
10-18-1921 New York, New York Okeh
If Dreams Come True 6-4-1939 New York, New York CBS
If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)
(Henry Creamer / James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
I'm Crazy About My Baby 6-5-1947 New York, New York Riverside
RLP 1056
Impressions
(James P. Johnson)
7-2-1942 New York, New York Asch
1001 B
Improvisation On Pinetops Boogie 12-15-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
26
Jersey Sweet (1) 4-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Jersey Sweet (2) 4-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
J.P. Boogie
(James P. Johnson)
11-17-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
24-A
Jungle Drums 4-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Keep Off The Grass
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
4495-A
Liza
(Perry Bradford / James P. Johnson)
5-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Liza
(Perry Bradford / James P. Johnson)
5-1945 New York, New York Xtra
1024
Liza
(Perry Bradford / James P. Johnson)
4-1937 New York, New York Ristic
LP
Liza
(Perry Bradford / James P. Johnson)
5-24-1947 New York, New York Pumpkin
117
Lonesome Reverie
(James P. Johnson)
6-4-1939 New York, New York CBS
Mama And Papa Blues 6-5-1947 New York, New York Riverside
RLP 1056
Maple Leaf Rag
(Scott Joplin)
2-15-1947 New York, New York Wax
LP 201
Mule Walk
(James P. Johnson)
12-23-1938 New York, New York Vanguard
Mule Walk
(James P. Johnson)
6-4-1939 New York, New York CBS
Mule Walk
(James P. Johnson)
12-15-1943 New York, New York Blue Note
27-A
Old Fashioned Love
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
Old Fashioned Love
(James P. Johnson)
6-5-1947 New York, New York Riverside
RLP 1056
Over The Bars
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
Riffs
(James P. Johnson)
1-29-1929 New York, New York Okeh
Riffs
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Decca
Scouting Around
(James P. Johnson)
8-8-1923 New York, New York Okeh
4937-A
Snowy Morning Blues
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
2-25-1927 New York, New York Columbia
14204-D
Snowy Morning Blues
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
7-2-1942 New York, New York Asch
Snowy Morning Blues
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
1943 New York, New York Folkways
FP 71
Snowy Morning Blues (alt)
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
1943 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Snowy Morning Blues
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
1944 New York, New York Decca
Snowy Morning Blues
(James P. Johnson / Perry Bradford)
6-1947 New York, New York Manhatten
503
Steeplechase Rag
(James P. Johnson)
9-1949 Los Angeles, California Pumpkin
117
Sugar
(Maceo Pinkard / Edna Alexander)
9-1949 Los Angeles, California Pumpkin
117
Sugar Hill Theme (You Can't Lose A Broken Heart) 9-1949 Los Angeles, California Pumpkin
117
St. Louis Blues
(W.C. Handy)
5-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Sweet Lorraine (2)
(Mitchell Parish / Cliff Burwell)
5-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Sweet Lorraine
(Mitchell Parish / Cliff Burwell)
5-1945 New York, New York Selmer
7218
Xtra
1024
The Dream (2) 5-1945 New York, New York Xtra
1024
The Dream (4) 5-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
The Harlem Strut
(James P. Johnson)
8-1921 New York, New York Black Swan
2026-A
Toddlin'
(James P. Johnson)
8-8-1923 New York, New York Okeh
4937-B
Twilight Rag 4-1945 New York, New York Xtra
1024
Twilight Rag 4-1945 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2850
Weeping Blues
(James P. Johnson)
6-28-1923 New York, New York Columbia
A3950
Worried And Lonesome Blues
(James P. Johnson)
6-28-1923 New York, New York Columbia
A3950
Yamekraw - A Negro Rhapsody (In Four Movements)
(James P. Johnson)
1944 New York, New York Folkways
FJ 2842
You Can't Do What My Last Man Did
(James P. Johnson)
7-25-1923 Camden, New Jersey Victor
19123-B

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
After Tonight
(William A. Farrell)
5-1917 New York, New York Universal
2191
After Tonight
(William A. Farrell)
6-1917 Orange, New Jersey Perfection
87020
Arkansas Blues
(Spencer Williams)
10-1921 New York, New York QRS
1670
Baltimore Buzz
(Noble Sissle / Eubie Blake)
12-1921 New York, New York QRS
1738
Birmingham Blues
(McCord / Matthews)
8-1922 New York, New York QRS
1994
Black Bottom Dance
(Buddy DeSylva / Lew Brown / Ray Henderson)
2-1927 New York, New York QRS
3792
Black Man (Be On Yo' Way)
(Spencer Williams)
11-1923 New York, New York QRS
2351
Buzz Mirandy
(Dave Franklin / Henry Creamer)
8-1922 New York, New York QRS
1952
Caprice Rag
(James P. Johnson)
5-1917 New York, New York Metro Art
203176
Caprice Rag
(James P. Johnson)
7-1917 Orange, New Jersey Universal
203177
Carolina Shout
(James P. Johnson)
2-1918 New York, New York Artempo
12975
Carolina Shout
(James P. Johnson)
2-1921 Newark, New Jersey QRS
100999, Q129
Charleston (South Carolina)
(Cecil Mack / James P. Johnson)
6-1925 New York, New York QRS
3143, Q-133
Crying For My Used To Be
(played by James P. Johnson and Fats Waller)
2-1927 New York, New York QRS
3800
Cry Baby Blues
(Meyer / Lewis / Young)
10-1921 New York, New York QRS
1673
Daintiness Rag
(James P. Johnson)
7-1917 New York, New York Universal
203107
Don't Mess With Me 5-1923 New York, New York QRS
2202, Q-136
Don't Tell Your Monkey Man
(L. Johnson / Ted Koehler)
5-1921 Newark, New Jersey QRS
1338
Dr. Jazzes Raz-Ma-Taz
(O'Flynn / Rose)
6-1921 New York, New York QRS
1473
Eccentricity
(James P. Johnson)
2-1918 New York, New York Artempo
12997
Eccentricity
(James P. Johnson)
5-1921 Newark, New Jersey QRS
1011000
Fascination
(James P. Johnson)
9-1917 New York, New York Universal
203227
Fascination Rag
(James P. Johnson)
? New York, New York Metro-Art
2032226
Farewell Blues
(Paul Mares / Leon Roppolo / Elmer Schoebel)
5-1923 New York, New York QRS
2244, Q-134
Gypsy Blues
(Noble Sissle / Eubie Blake)
10-1921 New York, New York QRS
1674
Harlem Choc'late Babies On Parade
(James P. Johnson / Henry Creamer)
7-1926 New York, New York QRS
3526
Harlem Strut
(James P. Johnson)
6-1922 New York, New York QRS
101014, Q-130
He's My Man
(Anton Lada)
10-1926 New York, New York QRS
3676
I Ain't Givin' Nothin' Away
(Zoel / Tally)
12-1921 New York, New York QRS
1724
If I Could Be With You
Duet with Fats Waller

(Henry Creamer / James P. Johnson)
3-1927 New York, New York QRS
3818, Q-152
If You've Never Been Vamped By A Brownskin
(Noble Sissle / Eubie Blake)
9-1921 New York, New York QRS
1644
Innovation Rag
(James P. Johnson)
10-1917 New York, New York Universal
203255
It Takes Love To Cure The Hearts Disease 5-1921 Newark, New Jersey QRS
1339
I've Got My Habits On
(Jimmy Durante)
2-1922 New York, New York QRS
1804
Joe Turner Blues
(W. C. Handy)
3-1922 New York, New York QRS
1830
Look What A Fool I've Been
(Clarence Williams)
3-1922 New York, New York QRS
1831
Loveless Love
(A "Blues Ballad")

(W. C. Handy)
5/1921 Newark, New Jersey QRS
1340
Make Me A Pallet
(W. C. Handy)
9-1926 New York, New York QRS
3626
Mama's Blues
(James P. Johnson)
7-1917 Newark, New Jersey Artempo
12286
Mama's Blues
(James P. Johnson)
7-1917 Belleville, New Jersey Rhythm
E17933
Mama's Blues
(James P. Johnson)
9-1917 New York, New York Universal
2335
Mama's Blues
(James P. Johnson)
9-1917 Orange, New Jersey Arto 228X
Mama's Blues
(James P. Johnson)
1917 New York, New York Singa
5228
Monkey Hunch
(James P. Johnson)
1917 New York, New York Universal
2235
Muscle Shoal Blues
(George W. Thomas)
4-1922 New York, New York QRS
1888
Nervous Blues
(Perry Bradford)
3-1922 New York, New York QRS
1833, Q-128
Ole Miss Blues
(W.C. Handy)
3-1922 New York, New York QRS
1834, Q-132
Railroad Man
(Elmer Schoebel)
8-1923 New York, New York QRS
2302
Roumania
(Spencer Williams / Clarence Williams)
6-1921 New York, New York QRS
1479
Runnin' Wild Medley
a. Charleston
b. Old Fashioned Love
c. Open Your Heart
d. Love Bug

(Cecil Mack / James P. Johnson)
3-1924 New York, New York QRS
101027
Steeplechase Rag
(James P. Johnson)
5-1917 New York, New York Universal
203179
Stop It
(James P. Johnson)
8-1917 Belleville, New Jersey Rhytmn
H100253
Stop It
(James P. Johnson)
8-1917 New York, New York Universal
203205
Sugar
(That Sugar Baby O' Mine)

(Maceo Pinkard / Edna Alexander)
11-1926 New York, New York QRS
3705
The Down Home Blues
(Tom Delaney)
2-1922 New York, New York QRS
1797
Twilight Rag
with E.E. Wilson

(James P. Johnson)
11-1917 New York, New York Metro Art
203274
Vampin' Liza Jane
(Marion Dickerson)
3-1922 New York, New York QRS
1836
Wasn't It Nice 8-1927 New York, New York QRS
3996
When It's Cherry Time in Tokio
(Reid / de Rose)
6-1917 Orange, New Jersey Perfection
87019
James P. Johnson : a case of mistaken identity / Scott E. Brown ; A James P. Johnson discography, 1917-1950 by Robert Hilbert Scarecrow Press and the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, 1986