Seth L Johnson is an established guitarist, a passionate composer and dedicated educator (all ages and skill levels). Having earned his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from San Francisco State University, and his Master’s degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts (under the tutelage of Vic Juris), Johnson grasps and interprets a well-rounded, expansive scope of musical genres. He plays Jazz, Western Classical, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, Brazilian, African, Country, Funk, Bosa Nova, Hip Hop, and any popular North American styles. From free improvised music, to Rock, to Jazz standards, he will have fun with all of it, taking the music as far as his body allows.
Johnson was born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. There, he began playing and experimenting with guitars, at age 10. Largely self-taught, he developed individualistic approaches to music and his instrument-- prior to receiving formal training. Inspired by his first teacher, Cleveland blues guitarist John Christopherson, Johnson delved deeply into the blues and finger-style guitar. Thus, while thoroughly exploring the outskirts of the guitar’s sound and timbre, and embracing his musical versatility, the blues has ultimately remained at the core of his style.
After a somewhat transient lifesyle- Cleveland to San Francisco, Chicago, and Paris, France- you presently find Seth L. Johnson living and teaching in New York, NY, and touring around the world. Life in Cleveland, New York, and travels have been (and continue to be) major influences throughout his career. Friends, family, venues, and those who fall in between have provided Johnson a personable and humble spirit with an edge, allowing him to approach life and all of his musical ventures with an open mind and outside-of-the-box tactics.
Over the last decade, Johnson has had the opportunity to share the stage or record with diverse and noteworthy artists such as Pharoah Monch, Jean Grae, Camp Lo, Andy Allo, Mob Deep, Hassan Hakmoun, Kaissa Doumbe, Lee Hogans, Enoch Smith Jr, Jerome Jennings, and countless others. Past festivals performances include The North Sea Jazz Fest (Rotterdam), Big Wig Hip Hop Festival (Singapore), SXSW, Tri-C Jazz Fest (Cleveland), Djangology Festival (Brooklyn), Gnawa Music Festival (Morocco). Noteworthy recordings of late include SoNuvo- Now That You're Gone; Lee Hogans- What We Play Is Life; Shenandoah and The Night- 100 Wants; Chickentown- Doggies Don't Ride The Train; Shirazette Tinnin- Humility; Ted Chubb Band- Gratified Never Satisfied and many more to come later in 2018.
Johnson is also a member of the Brooklyn based supergroup People's Champs, whose members have performed internationally with Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Boy George, Beyonce and many others. As a leader Seth can be seen performing in such notable New York venues as The Blue Note Jazz Club, The Apollo Theatre, The Lambs Club, The Bitter End, The Rum House, Fat Cat, Smoke, Brooklyn Bowl, The Jazz Standard, Mercury Lounge, Zinc Bar, S.O.B.'s, Joe’s Pub, Rockwood Music Hall among others. Clubs and venues aside, you may catch Johnson playing in colleges, theaters and performing arts centers, across the United States and abroad.
Johnson's musical inspirations and enjoyments include, but are certainly not limited to: Jimmy Hendrix, Lenny Breau, Marc Ribot, Robert Johnson, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Nina Simone, Erik Satie, James Blake, D'Angelo, Bjork, and Fiona Apple.
Check out Seth L. Johnson's résumé, to see his camp, class, clinic, and workshop history. In addition to festivals and special events that he has been a part of, Johnson notes who he has had the honor and opportunity to teach, collaborate, and study with.
To inquire about taking lessons, please feel free to send a message via the contact page!