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Ken “Snakehips” Johnson

Bandleader Ken “Snakehips” Johnson was the leading superstar of Britain’s dark swing movement from the Globe War II period. Delivered Kenrick Reginald Hymans Johnson in Georgetown, United kingdom Guiana, on Sept 10, 1914, he went to Queens College before age group of 15, when his rich parents delivered him to review in the William Borlase College in Buckinghamshire. There his desire for music blossomed, and likewise to his longstanding enthusiasm for piano and violin, Johnson started to research dance, searching for the American choreographer Friend Bradley (the trainer behind Fred Astaire, Ruby Keeler, and Eleanor Powell) for training — his liquid, sinuous dance design and lithe six-foot, four-inch framework were to say thanks to for the “Snakehips” nickname. In 1934 Johnson and Bradley journeyed towards the U.S., where in fact the former made an appearance in the film Oh Daddy. Even more significant was his 1st visit to Harlem, where he 1st experienced the music of Fletcher Henderson and Cab Calloway. Upon time for Britain in 1935, Johnson became a member of Leslie Thompson’s Emperors of Jazz like a “dummy conductor,” performing and dance while Thompson aimed his bandmembers. A protracted headlining stay at London’s Aged Florida Club produced Johnson a celebrity, and in mid-1936 he authorized with agent Ralph Deane to create his personal orchestra, the Tempo Swingers. Offering gifted Western Indian-born players like guitarist Joe Deniz, bassist Abe Clare, trombonist Freddie Greensdale, saxophonist Carl Barriteau, and trumpeter Leslie “Jiver” Hutchinson, the Tempo Swingers quickly surfaced as the utmost popular swing music group in Britain, sketching larger crowds than some of their white contemporaries. In 1940, Johnson renamed the group the Western Indian Orchestra to coincide using its residency in the Western End nightclub Café du Paris, and with this incarnation from the lineup slice the BBC Radio classes that comprise the majority of his documented legacy. On March 8, 1941, the Café du Paris was bombed throughout a German air flow raid — over 30 people passed away, included in this Johnson, whose music group required the stage just moments before the club’s damage. He was simply 26 years of age.

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