Johnny Otis (1921-2012) - JazzWax

« Interview: Geri Allen (Part 3) | Main | John Levy (1912-2012) »

January 21, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ron W

Nice stuff. While it is not currently in print (and neither is the Complete Savoy Recordings I believe), The Johnny Otis Show Live At Monterey is a must and is available on downloads (New and unused copies are very expensive on Amazon). It was one of the last documented times of so many legends being on the stage together and a video clip from the performance (The Mighty Flea) was in Clint Eastwood's "Play Misty For Me." It is must stuff. English Ace Records issued "Midnight At The Barrelhouse," the first of two volumes of the Johnny Otis Story that surveys his entire career. Ace has a number of great reissues of Johnny's music including "Vintage 1950's Broadcasts From Los Angeles" with live performances as well as Maury Will's radio ad boosting Johnny for California Assemblyman. I also like the Alliagtor "New Johnny Otis Show" and Johnny's tribute to big band jazz, "Spirit of Black Territory Bands" on Arhoolie.

Another of Johnny's other sons, Nicky has been drummer with the Jackie Payne-Steve Edmondson Band and can be heard on the Delta Groove albums. Payne is another artist who had an association with Johnny.

Also, Johnny's Grandson Eric Otis (I believe Shuggie's son) has a composition and orchestration on Gerald Wilson's latest album, "Legacy." Eric is also Gerald Wilson's grandson.

Allen Lowe

I love Otis but take exception to two comments here which show a pretty typical jazz-person's prejudice:
"he never became an exploiter of talent or a music thief."
Well, talk to Leiber and Stoller about Otis putting his name on Houd Dog. Otis was a good guy, but far from perfect in this sense.
"Otis never became a clownish promoter like so many white rock-and-roll record and radio industry types in the '50s" - like who? once again, this shows a jazz snobbery; Otis is considered more pure because he delved in African American forms more specifically. But rock was a multi-racial phenomenon.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

Contact me


Click the cover to pre-order my new book, due Nov. 1.

Subscribe Free

Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Search JazzWax

  • JazzWax

JazzWax Interviewed

WSJ Articles

JazzWax Interviews

Audio Note

  • Audio clips that appear below JazzWax posts support editorial content that links readers directly to Amazon and other third-party music retailers.

Marc Myers on Video

JATP Programs