Mostly a trumpet player, although he doubles on both trombone and bass trombone, Walt Johnson has played on a range of music as wide as what would be found in a good record store. He should not be confused with the excellent jazz drummer who originated more than several decades previously, but has decent pedigree in music that swings as an alumni of West Coast jazz big bands under the direction of leaders such as Stan Kenton and Louie Bellson. He worked with the latter drummer's bands throughout the '70s. In the '80s, projects by performers such as percussionist/composer Norman Connors or keyboardist Les McCann that required expanded studio recording bands have also featured Johnson in the brass section.
The largest listening audience, however, has no doubt heard the trumpeter in the context of pop music recordings in which the brass punches up a few riffs but does little else. Johnson has worked on both the live and recording sides of this music, his associations including both Frank Sinatra and his son Frank Sinatra Jr., Elvis Presley, José Feliciano, and Barry Manilow, just to name a few. In the late '90s he was featured as part of a big band project put together by vocalist Toni Tennille, whose husband, Daryl Dragon, would definitely have been someone the trumpeter might have bumped into in the recording studios. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi