Grammy winner at Randee's Music

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112248481421703.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of’, ‘Wayne Johnson received a Grammy in 2005 for "Pop Instrumental Album of the Year" for his contributions to 'Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar'.’);

Guitarist Wayne Johnson stops in Rockford as part of Taylor Guitar workshop tour

With many years of experience behind him, Wayne Johnson will be giving a workshop for Taylor Guitars on many techniques at Randee’s Music in Rockford.

Johnson doesn’t recall whether he has been to Rockford. He said with the size of the town, it is likely that the band he is in has stopped here on tour.

“There’s a good chance we’ve played there,” Johnson said.

The workshop curriculum includes improvisation concepts, tips and shortcuts for beginner through advanced level players, which is applicable to jazz, blues, rock and other genres.

In addition to the basic curriculum, Johnson will be teaching two-hand percussive techniques, pentatonic scales, three- and four-part right-hand independence for killer Latin grooves, unique right-hand techniques from flamenco to bluegrass, and tips on accompanying singers.

There will also be plenty of fantastic guitar playing and an opportunity for participants to ask questions throughout the workshop.

Johnson has been playing guitar for almost 40 years. He received his first guitar in 1962.

During the 1970s, he attended Berklee College of Music and joined the pop/jazz vocal group Manhattan Transfer.

Since the late 1970s, he has been indulging in his solo interests and playing with his trio, which includes Bill Berg on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass. Years later, Don Grusin on keyboards and Charlie Bisharat on violin were added to the mix when performing in the Los Angeles area.

Johnson has released six Trio recordings and two solo acoustic albums. He has also recorded with several artists in addition to the Manhattan Transfer.

His latest album, One Guitar, was released in September 2003 on Solid Air Records. The CD ranked No. 2 on the Top 20 Acoustic Guitar Recordings to Own in Jazziz Magazine.

Johnson said he plans to record many more albums.

“I’m working on another one right now, and have some other ideas in mind,” he said.

In 2005, he won a Grammy for “Pop Instrumental Album of the Year” for his contribution to the recording Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.

It was after the award that Taylor Guitars asked Johnson to become a Taylor clinician.

This prestigious position gives Johnson the chance to teach Taylor instructional workshops and introduce Taylor’s new T5 Thinline Fiveway electric and acoustic guitar.

Johnson said he likes teaching because it gives him a chance to share some of the experiences he has received with young guitarists.

Beyond teaching, Johnson still keeps busy with writing, recording and playing live with the Manhattan Transfer. His main focus is on new material for performances and education.

When not on the road, he plays in his hometown of San Diego with his new “garage” band and is a guest instructor at Musician’s Institute of Technology and at Los Angeles Music Academy.

“I started studying a while back, and those teachers were my mentors,” Johnson said.

Randee’s Music, 4116 Morsay Drive, will host the “Taylor Day” workshop tonight (Wednesday, July 27). From 2-6 p.m. customers may bring in one of their Taylor guitars for a free diagnostic and string change by the Taylor Tech Team.

Admission to the workshop, beginning at 7 p.m., is $5. Reservations are required due to limited seating. To place reservations or for more information, call 226-9996.

From the July 27-Aug. 2, 2005, issue

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