Music Genre(s): Contemporary Jazz
T.R. Johnson is an English professor, so it's not surprising that he did his homework on New Orleans before moving from his native town of Louisville, Kentucky. "l had always been intrigued with New Orleans, and had visited several times." he said. "When the University of New Orleans offered me a job. I came on down."
T.R.'s longtime friend and fellow show host Chris Dunn tuned him into what WWOZ was and how to get involved. He spent a year and a half filling in for numerous time slots before settling into the permanent "Morning Set" slot on Thursday morning, from 6 to 9 a.m., this past September.
Recognizing jazz music for the ever-evolving genre that it is, listeners can expect to hear T.R. playing contemporary artists who challenge the boundaries of the genre, as well as the classic performers who paved the way. "My center of gravity is in the late 50's hard-bop, late-bop period, moving foward to the present," he said. "I certainly dig the older stuff like Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, but I have a taste tor some of the more avant-garde, experimental forms."
Ever the professor, T.R. does a decent amount of preparation for his show. "I usually go through my own collection the night before to come up with a broad outline of what I want to play. The actual sequencing of the songs is improvised. But I have an idea of how I want to start off the show and where I want to end up." As the WWOZ March show host of the month, it certainly seems that T.R. Johnson has ended up right where he belongs.
By Chris Lenois [March, 2002]