William Manuel Johnson Photo

William Manuel Johnson

Born: Aug 10, 1872

Death: Dec 3, 1972

Birthplace: Talladega

Profession: Musician

Nationality: United States

William Manuel Johnson

Date of Birth : Aug 10, 1872
Date of Death : Dec 3, 1972
Birth Place : Talladega

William Manuel "Bill" Johnson, was an American jazz musician, considered the father of the "slap" style of Double bass playing. Johnson claimed to have started "slapping" the strings of his bass after he accidentally broke his bow on the road with his band in northern Louisiana in the early 1910s. Other New Orleans string bass players picked up this style, and spread it across the country with the spread of New Orleans Jazz. Johnson was founder and manager of the first jazz band to leave New Orleans and tour widely in the 1910s, The Original Creole Orchestra. In Chicago in the early 1920s he assembled King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, considered perhaps the best of the early ensemble style jazz bands. He taught younger Chicago musicians his "slap" style of string bass playing. He made many fine recordings in Chicago in the late 1920s. Johnson continued to play with various jazz bands and orchestras into the early 1950s, sometimes working under other names. He was also involved in the import/export business along the USA-Mexico border.


  • Musician
  • Bassist

Also known as

  • Willie White
  • Johnson, Bill
  • Bill Johnson
  • Bill Johnson
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