Pain Relief Beyond Belief





From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words

The Eddie Jefferson School of Bop - Master Classes, Artist in Residence, Workshops, Concerts and Tours by George V Johnson Jr



Advocate for Preserving America's Classical Music, "JAZZ",

it's African American Legacy, Roots and Heritage!

Main Page

Coming Soon!


Coming to a City Near You!






 Photo by: 
William Brower 



The Art of Jazz Vocalese

Writing & Singing Lyrics to Improvised Solos

Tours, Clubs, Festivals, Concerts


 A Member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Network


The Father of the Art of Jazz Vocalese



George V Johnson Jr

 Eddie Jefferson & GVJ Left Bank Jazz Society 1977 Passing the torch

Remember to pause this music player when viewing videos

Find more music like this on WASHINGTON DC JAZZ NETWORK





The best in the business George V Johnson Jr, One of my students...

(Historic 16 sec sound clip)


 Photo by: 
William Brower 

George V Johnson Jr - Vocalese

Executive Director & Founder

Washington DC Jazz Network



* Summer Workshops *

* Artist in Residence *

* Concerts *

*Tours *

* Private lessons *

* In person or skype video *

* Local, National or International *

Start learning the Art of Jazz Vocalese today!

Call for info


Clinic/Workshop Information: 


Beginners - Intermediate to advanced students 



. History of Jazz Vocalese

. The Art of Writing & Singing Good Lyrics

. Demonstration, Vocal Drills

. Importance of Diction, Rhythm, Presentation & Intonation

. Class Participation / Breakdown of Classic Solo's

. Class Reciting, Speaking, Singing & Writing original lyrics

. Repetition & Practice w/End of session performance


. 1 to 10 week programs or 1-5 day workshops

. Elementary / Jr., High / High Schools

. Colleges / Universities

. Master Classes / Seminars / Private Instructions

ailable on Skype:

Skype contact:

. If you sing in the shower, car or the closet. We want you!

Now Booking: USA, Canada, South America, Africa, Austrailia, UK, Europe, Asia

Photo by:
William Brower


READ About GVJ: Suggested book:


Author: Paul F. Berliner

Professor of Ethnomusicology at Northwestern University, Chicago IL.

Jazz Phrasing by Dr Gloria Cooper & Don Sickler: - A Workshop For The Jazz Vocalist with lyrics by George V Johnson Jr. It covers: Specific Rhythm Phrasing ­ interpreting 8th notes, specific rhythm figures; Open Phrasing ­ exploring tempos and styles, working with ballads; Tips on Performance ­ choosing a tempo and counting off, telling the song’s story, working with your ensemble; and more. The accompanying CD lets you: compare transcriptions to recorded examples, listen to vocal and instrumental examples, sing along with the rhythm section, create backgrounds and analyze arrangements.

The 1st Hank Mobley Jazz Festival produced by Don Sickler featuring George V Johnson Jr, Frank Wess, Don Braden, Houston Person, Eric Alexander, Semus Blake, Joe Lovano. Jazz Standard Oct 28 to Nov 2, 2003 a week long event.


Down by the River - East of the Village
A "JAZZICAL" The Jazz Opera
Lyrics & Script: by George V Johnson Jr

Music:  Hank Mobley
Arrangements: Don Sickler 

In 2003, George V Johnson Jr. was commissioned by Don Sickler of Second Floor Music to pen lyrics to the music of jazz legend and saxophonist, Hank Mobley. Since taking on the project Johnson has skillfully, completed over 40 of Mobley’s classic compositions and still counting. Some with complete solo’s. Critics are already saying this is one of the most important and extensive projects to be presented to the public from the jazz vocalese realm in many, many years. With Jazz Vocalese, still in a state of infancy, Johnson has almost single handedly kept the vocalese dream alive as exemplified from his performances presenting the Music of Hank Mobley. A feat unmatched by any of his peers in jazz music. His lyrics are well rounded, beautifully written and a classic work of art. In the spirit of Eddie Jefferson, Johnson’s a modern day “GRIO” telling stories our ancestors would be very proud of ...a la...Langston Hughes

Hank Mobley recorded many of his classic compositions on the Blue Note label featuring some of the greatest names in jazz. Mobley composed over 100 songs that are becoming jazz classics and every musicians dream. Johnson’s soulful style and earthly lyrics to this great composers work establishes new dimensions in Jazz Vocalese. The voice accented with skillful musicians magically connects with the Mobley Spirit. Just imagine! Swinging, stories that take you on a musical voyage. Everyone should experience this. See what the buzz is all about. Join in the fun and bring the music of Hank Mobley to your city today. It’s Jazzically wonderful.

Hank’s Symphony, Soul Station, Dig Dis, No Room For Squares, East of The Village, This I Dig of You, Take Your Pick, Three Way Split, Split Feelings, Up A Step, Work Out, The Baptist Beat, My Groove Your Move, Soft Impressions, Hank’s Waltz, Chain Reaction, Roll Call, Syrup & Biscuits, Snappin Out, Comin’ Back, The Feelings Good, Uh Huh, Up Over and Out, Looking East, Cute N’ Pretty, Third Time Around, Bossa For Baby, Ballin, Madeline, No More Goodbyes, The Break Through, Hank’s Other Bag, Infra Rae, Straight NoFilter, Caddy for Daddy, The Morning After. . . and more



Imagine listening to a seasoned jazz musician rip into a bebop solo so sizzling and smooth it makes your senses tingle. Close your eyes and play along. Try and picture the sweat bouncing off the performer like the notes that leap through the air. See if you can hear the mesmerizing melodies go up and down, bringing you through joy and sadness, taking your emotions on a sensory experience unlike any other. Now picture that musician and his beloved instrument: His voice. That's the art of vocalese, and that's what native D.C. son George V Johnson Jr. has been doing for over 40 years....Working as a performer, a D.C. Metrobus driver and a New Jersey train conductor at different times throughout his life, Johnson's latest work has taken the form of pedagogy. He has become a teacher and mentor to both aspiring and established vocalists from around the area, and most recently he has lent his years of experience and talent to AU, leading the AU jazz vocal ensemble. ~~By Ben Lozovsky - 2005


 Eddie Jefferson & GVJ Left Bank Jazz Society 1977 Passing the torch



 GEORGE V JOHNSON JR,...considered by many as “Heir Apparent” to Jefferson’s innovation and is one of the foremost practitioners of the vocalese style on the Jazz scene today.  He first turned heads on his debut recording in 1981 with “Pharaoh Sanders” on the LP REJOICE and was credited with vocals and lyric on Coltrane’s classic “Moments Notice “, later reissued on CD by Evidence Music   Johnson was mentored and performed regularly with “James Moody & Lou Donaldson”. Two of the greatest saxophonist in the history of Jazz. His close association with Moody led to many Local & National Live Radio and Television Broadcasts.  




George V Johnson Jr

"Moody's Mood For Love"

August 3, 1985

Eddie Jefferson's Birthday Jazz Mobile Concert

Grants Tomb, NYC

While appearing with James Moody over one dozen live NPR coast to coast

radio & television broadcast

George V Johnson Jr & Lou Donaldson @ the historic Birdland Jazz Club in NYC July 9, 2011.

The two were introduced by John Malachi in 1975.  Donaldson has been presenting Johnson ever since.

"The Gingerbread Boy"

Johnson was invited to the stage from the audience by the great Jimmy Heath

during the during the DC Jazz Festival 2011


Benny Golson and George V Johnson Jr pose for a fan after a impromptu invite to the stage on

Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time" and tribute to the late James Moody "Moody's Mood for Love"

at the historic "Bohemian Caverns"

Dear George,
 Thank you for your impressive E-mail message and the enclosed photographs. It was great meeting you and hearing you. Though you had a comforting job and an abundance of security as a conductor with The New Jersey Transit, it's obvious your heart lies within the existing realm of the music we lovingly call jazz. Few of us will ever get rich by engaging in this pursuit, but our hearts will be overrun with joy and satisfaction for having done it. Time cannot be so cruel as to keep us apart indefinitely. So, onward and upward as we chase our dreams with a votive and determined effort, in spite of all else, with an inelluctable spirit of success concerning our proleptic tomorrows. We have no choice but to HIT IT over and over again at every opportunity as faithful visionaries letting no one or anything get in our way.

Noblesse Oblige,
 Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Hank Mobley Jazz Festival

Frank Wess, GVJ & Don Sicker @ Jazz Standard

2011 - 30 years later @ Howard University receiving the Benny Golson Lifetime Achievement Award


Photo by: 
William Brower 



COLTRANE’S classic “Moments Notice” is a complete gas! Sanders like Coltrane, pulls and holds attention with his entrances. Bobby Hutcherson’s and Hicks solo’s are heated and models of vivid imagination. The three put forth some of the very best solo’s in the entire album. The there’s the arresting new talent introduced here on compact disc in debute - GEORGE V JOHNSON JR., whose marvelous lyrics and viocal work are truly auspicous! He sngs with James Moody on occassion and is happily remindflul of the insistent giftness of the late EDDIE JEFFERSON. Johnson’s three stanzars close with ”Relax dig the sounds of Coltrane’s Music. Coltrane fills your heart with love and harmony. Trane played with magic. Listen to the melodies and you will see momently. When you here the message of his song!”. There’s no doubt in my mind that henceforth George V Johnson sholuld and will be sought for his own gift to the music. He sang the song for Sanders at the Village Vanguard, and Sanders “felt that George ought to be heard”.

Thank you, Pharoah Sanders for your spirit of sharing! Wheeeeee....what a dynamite track this is~~~~HERBIE WONG!

Learn More About The Great Herb Wong

GVJ, Javon Jackson & Jimmy Cobb 83rd birthday celebration @ Bohemian Caverns

Photo by Bill Brower

He has also shared the stage with Richie Cole, James King, Nasar Abeday, Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Benny Golson, Jimmy & Tootie Heath, Jimmy Cobb, Don Sickler, David 'Fathead' Newman, Wallace Roney, Antoine Roney, Wes Anderson, Clifford Jordan, George Coleman, Frank Foster, Dr. Art Davis, Keter Betts, Calvin Jones, Zoot Simms, Al Cohn, Herman Foster, Harold Mabern, Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller, Rueben Brown, Marshall Hawkins, John Hicks, Barry Harris, Kirt Lightsey, Philly Joe Jones, Idris Muhammad, Larry Ridley and the Jazz Legacy Ensemble and many more. Johnson has entertained and performed at clubs, festivals, concert halls worldwide.

In 2003, George V Johnson Jr. was commissioned by Don Sickler of Second Floor Music to pen lyrics to the music of jazz legend and saxophonist, Hank Mobley. Since taking on the project Johnson has skillfully, completed over 40 of Mobley’s classic compositions and still counting. Some with complete solo’s. Critics are already saying this is one of the most important and extensive projects to be presented to the public from the jazz vocalese realm in many, many years. With Jazz Vocalese, still in a state of infancy, Johnson has almost single handedly kept the vocalese dream alive as exemplified from his performances presenting the Music of Hank Mobley. A feat unmatched by any of his peers in jazz music. His lyrics are well rounded, beautifully written and a classic work of art. In the spirit of Eddie Jefferson, Johnson’s a modern day “GRIO” telling stories our ancestors would be very proud of ...a la...Langston Hughes.  Other accomplishments includes lyrics to over 30 Charlie Parker compositions and is one of the most exciting vocalist on the jazz scene today!

"The George V Johnson Jr Show"

Blog Talk Radio





I'm a student of the Eddie Jefferson School of Bop!

Ayelet Zohar, PhD (Smithsonian Institute) - Haifa, Israel

A Member of the Washington DC Jazz Network

Dr. Ayelet Zohar, History of Art and Asian Studies depts. University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, IsraelLetter of Reference

To whom it may concern:

 George V. Johnson Jr. was my jazz singing teacher over the period of summer 2011 (June-September 2011).George is an outstanding singer in his own right, and has wonderful teaching abilities that complete this skill. George is a sensitive and thoughtful instructor, and was attentive to any request or complexity Ihave faced through the process of learning his style of jazz singing, the vocalese.

In the past, I was learning jazz with several teachers in California, people who gave me the opportunity to take my first steps into the realm of jazz. However, it was through my study with George that I could experience the heart and nature of true, black culture deep connection to jazz, and how this singing wasborn out of the painful history of black communities in the US, joined with the cheerful and happy moments of music making and pleasures of life. George introduced me to important musicians in hiscycle such as Eddie Jefferson, James Moody, Hank Mobley, Miles Davis, Sarah (Sassy) Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and more. When teaching me Hank Mobley’s This I Dig of You, George was working with me on correct pronunciation and tempo; When working on Miles Davis’ So What, George emphasized modes of wording and rhythm, and the relationship between lyrics and tune; when working on Body & Soul it was emotion and modes of expression that was in the focus; George was also very helpful in helping me to reshape and better understand the modus and style of songs such as Dat Dere, Joy Spring,I’ve Got it Bad, and more.

All in all, George proved to be an extremely talented individual who helped me tremendously in understanding jazz music background and way of singing, the genealogical ties between people and style, and how all these link together to become a unique style of singing which George V, Johnson Jr. is indeed, a master of.I highly recommend any individual or group to take George as their singing instructor!

Sincerely, Dr. Ayelet Zohar

History of Art and Asian Studies depts..University of Haifa Mt. Carmel 31905 Haifa

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


John Malachi

Letter of Recommendation to National Endowment of the Arts


John Malachi (born September 6, 1919 – February 11, 1987) was an American Jazz pianist born in Red Springs, North Carolina, who was a member of the epochal Billy Eckstine Bebop Orchestrain 1944-45 and again in 1947.

The Legendary Big Band 1943-1947

The band featured: Dizzy GillespieDexter GordonMiles DavisArt BlakeyCharlie Parker, Lucky Thompson,Wardell Gray, Gene Ammons, Leo Parker, Trummy Young, Cecil Payne, Sonny Criss, Oscar Pettford, Shadow Wilson, Tommy Potter, Fats NavarroTadd Dameron and Gil Fuller were among the band's arrangers, and Sarah Vaughan gave the vocals a contemporary air. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra was the first bop big-band, and its leader reflected bop innovations by stretching his vocal harmonics into his normal ballads.

John Malachi, Art Tatum

He also worked with Illinois Jacquet in 1948, Louis Jordan in 1951, and a series of singers including Pearl BaileyDinah WashingtonSarah VaughanAl Hibbler, and Joe Williams.

Malachi opted out of the traveling life of the touring jazz musician in the 1960s, living roughly the last decade and a half of his life in Washington, D.C. freelancing, playing with touring bands and artists when they stopped in Washington, and leading music workshops at clubs like Jimmy MacPhail's Gold Room and Bill Harris's Pig's Foot. Malachi's generosity towards younger musicians was legendary.  One of the musicians he helped influence recalls that younger players referred to his workshops as "The University of John Malachi." [3][4]

Malachi is credited with creating the nickname "Sassy" for Sarah Vaughan, with whom he worked with the Eckstine Orchestra and later directly with her.

First time on TV. John Malachi presents "Your Majesty" George V Johnson Jr on the Carol Hall Show channel 7 news @ the PIGFOOT Jazz Club in NE Washington DC - 1975. During the same year we appeared on the Sue Simmons show "THE PLACE". Sue had just arrived to Wash DC and worked with Jim Vance a pairing that resulted in one of the first, if not the first, African-American co-anchors of a major market newscast. Now's the time for another appearance on a Major TV News Network.

John Malachi arranged Johnson's original composition Opening Night.  Johnson kept telling

John that he had this song he wanted him to hear.   One evening Malachi invited him over to his house

and asked him to sing the song to him.  Within an hour John wrote it out the song and the rest

 is history.  He asked him what was the name of the song and Johnson responded....I haven't named it yet!

John suggested that he call it "Opening Night".  He also had an idea!!!

One month later Malachi presented on his first professional gig and introduced

him to the audience as "YOUR MAJESTY" George V Johnson Jr.

Malachi is also credited with creating the nickname "Your Majesty": for George V Johnson Jr, Vocalist & Executive Director of the Washington DC Jazz Network,.  He was fond of categorizing jazz pianists into "acrobats" and "poets," classifying himself among the latter.

"Your Majesty" George V Johnson Jr & John Malachi







American Jazz Museum



American Jazz Museum


 AUGUST 27, 2011


featuring -


Support Live Jazz!

A Member of the Washington DC Jazz Network




George V Johnson Jr

"The Art of Jazz Vocalese"

Lyrics to over 30 Charlie Parker's Classic Compositions



Dennis Winslett









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