James P. JohnsonJames P. Johnson February 1
- November 17
) was a pianist
. With Lucky Roberts
, Johnson was one of the originaters of the stride
style of piano
James Prince Johnson was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His family moved to New York City in 1908. His first professional engagement was at Coney Island in 1912.
Johnson's tune Charleston (which debuted in the Broadway show Runnin' Wild in 1923, although by some accounts Johnson had written years earlier) became one of the most popular tunes and arguably the definitive dance number of the Roaring 1920s. His other hits included "You've Got to be Modernistic", "Keep Off the Grass", "Old Fashioned Love", "A Porter's Love Song To A Chambermaid", "Carolina Shout", "If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)", and "Snowy Morning Blues". He wrote music in many styles, including waltzes, ballet, symphonic pieces and light opera.
James P. Johnson served as mentor to Fats Waller. He was also an influence on such other pianists as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Art Tatum, and even Thelonious Monk.
Johnson retired from performing after a stroke in 1951. James P. Johnson died in Jamaica, New York.