Sy Johnson is a Jazz Arranger, Orchestrator, Pianist, Writer and Photographer. He has worked with Charles Mingus, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, and Elvis Costello, among others. His Mingus arrangements are played by The Mingus Big Band, Mingus Orchestra, published by Hal Leonard, and performed around the world. His collaboration with Charles Mingus on “Let My Children Hear Music” is a Twentieth Century Classic.
Johnson teaches Jazz Arranging and Theory at NYU, and his famed Great American Songbook class at Turtle Bay Music School. His Miles Davis interview is published in the Smithsonian “Miles Davis Reader.” Mr. Johnson’s Jazz photographs are collected in his “Jazz” monograph, published in 2010. During the 50s and 60s, he played with and also photographed many of the musicians in the Jazz Loft at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York’s Flower District made famous by the photographs and tapes of W. Eugene Smith.
Watch a video of Sy Johnson's presentation at the Center on February 7, 2013.