with guest vocalist Morgan Pirtle

A Birthday Tribute to Shirley Horn

"Johnson made clear that he had a

great deal to say at the keyboard."


-- Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune 

Morgan Pirtle - vocals

Richard Johnson - piano

Christian Dillingham - bass

Charles Heath - drums

Born in Pittsburgh, home to jazz greats Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Jeff "Tain" Watts and Ahmad Jamal, Richard D. Johnson has strong territorial jazz roots. He was first introduced to the piano at the age of five by his father, a gospel pianist in the church. Since then, he has cultivated a rich and pedigreed musical background being schooled by some of the most legendary jazz musicians and studying at the most esteemed institutions of music. 

After graduating from the Berklee School of Music in just two years, Richard entered the Boston Conservatory where he earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy. He then went on to receive an Artist Performance Diploma at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory under the direction of the influential Ron Carter.

Richard was invited to become a member of Wynton Marsalis' Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, which he did from 2000-2003. He also played as part of the Russell Malone Quartet and Irvin Mayfield's Quintet. After completing his tenure with those groups Richard started the Reach Afar program for young people ages of 7-17, educating them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Richard has traveled extensively, sharing the gift of jazz to audiences around the world. As a representative of the United States through the U.S. State Department, Richard was named United States Musical Ambassador. During that time he did six state department tours that took him to Central and South America and Africa affording him the opportunity to perform in more than 15 countries. Richard has also accompanied such jazz icons as Bobby Watson, Curtis Lundy, Herbie Hancock and Arturo Sandoval.

Currently Richard is performing and educating all around the world. In his current role he performs with world-class artist promoting jazz to a vast array of audiences. His most recent project June 4th 2018includes Vocalist Gregory Generet and the Cd is entitled "2 of A Kind" 

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Morgan Pirtle is an award winning vocalist, composer, and educator in Chicago.  In 2018, she was named a Luminarts Fellow in Jazz, won the People's Choice Award at the Luminarts 2018 Jazz Finals, and was named Outstanding Undergraduate Vocalist in the 2018 DownBeat Student Music Awards. She has performed all over Chicago-land at such venues and events as the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Chicago Summer Dance, The Shedd Aquarium's Jazzin' at the Shedd series, Andy's,  Schubas, the Jazz Showcase, the Promontory, Emporium, and more. In 2018, she made her debut at the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival with her group Morgan Pirtle + 5.  Her debut EP “Muse” will be released on April 18th, 2019.



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Chicago, Illinois 60611

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