2004 Grammy Award Winner Wayne Johnson, joined the pop/jazz vocal group, Manhattan Transfer, after attending Berklee College of Music in the late 70’s. Since then, Wayne has taken plenty of time off from the gig to keep his solo interests alive. Wayne's "Trio", with Bill Berg on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass, has also been performing and recording since the late 70's. With six Trio recordings and two solo acoustic CDs to his credit, Wayne has also recorded and performed with an eclectic group of artists in addition to the Manhattan Transfer.
During the last 5 year hiatus from the M.T., Wayne performed & recorded with Rickie Lee Jones for two years and opened as a solo acoustic act for John Tesh for 2 years. In addition to recording many sessions for a variety of artists, he toured and recorded with Japanese pop/jazz artist Akiko Yano as well as Lee Oskar of “War”.
Wayne, along with other label mates on Solid Air Records won the coveted Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards in Feb. 2005 for “Pop Instrumental Album of the Year”. The recording, “Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar”, produced by James Jensen, is a tribute to Mancini and consists of all acoustic solo guitar renditions of each artist’s favorite Mancini song.
In 2005, Taylor Guitars asked Wayne to come on board as a Taylor clinician. This prestigious position, held only by a handful of guitarists, will have him on the road performing concerts and teaching, introducing Taylor’s newest line of instruments to guitarists all over the world.
Recently relocated to North County San Diego, Wayne concentrates on writing, recording and teaching. Although he keeps a busy schedule with the Manhattan Transfer, his main focus is new material for performance and education. Wayne still plays with the original members of his trio, and has added Don Grusin on Keyboards and Charlie Bisharat on violin into the mix when performing in the LA area. In San Diego, Wayne has a new "garage" band for writing and performing locally. When he is off the road and not performing live, Wayne produces music for a variety of situations and is a guest instructor at M.I.T. (Musician's Institute of Technology) and L.A.M.A. (Los Angeles Music Academy).
Wayne's latest solo acoustic venture, "One Guitar", was released in September of 2003 on Solid Air Records. It is an excursion into adventurous solo acoustic playing with the addition of tapping and hitting the guitar, using a variety of specialized techniques in an improvisational manner, so as to resemble interplay with a real percussionist. The CD was listed #2 out of the top 20 acoustic guitar recordings to own by Jazziz Magazine. Check it out at, www.WayneJohnsonOnline.com.
WJ trio, solo & related recordings:
“Henry Mancini, Pink Guitar” 2004 Solid Air Records
"One Guitar" (acoustic gt. solos) 2003 Solid Air Records
"Apache" guitar duo w/Jeff Richman 2000, Miramar Recordings
"Kindred Spirits" (solo acoustic) 1996 GTSP/Polygram Records
"MoJazz Christmas Album" 1995, MoJazz/Motown Records
"Grasshopper" (Re-release-trio ) 1994, MoJazz/Motown Records
"Keeping the Dream Alive" (trio) 1993, MoJazz/Motown Records
"Spirit of the Dancer" (trio) 1988, Zebra/MCA Records
"Everybody's Painting Pictures" (trio) 1985, Zebra Records
"Grasshopper" (trio) 1983, I.P.I. Records
"Arrowhead" (trio) 1980, Inner City Records