Kris Johnson is an award-winning trumpeter, composer, and educator. He has appeared on five GRAMMY-nominated albums and composed the original score for the four-time Emmy-nominated web series King Ester. For this episode of MoMM@Home, we'll learn about Kris' many experiences and he'll teach us about the flugelhorn.
Kris toured the world as a trumpeter and arranger with the Count Basie Orchestra from 2008-2019 and served as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Utah from 2015-2019. Currently, Kris is the Education and Digital Programming Manager for the Motown Museum. He is also a freelance composer, arranger, and educator in Metro Detroit, and the creator and curator of the online educational series Office Hours with Kris Johnson.Mr. Johnson has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious jazz venues including the Apollo Theater, the Blue Note Jazz Club (US and Japan), Sydney Opera House, Blues Alley, and the Hollywood Bowl. He has also had the opportunity to perform with many jazz greats including Tony Bennett, Patti Austin, Wess Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Hendricks, Monty Alexander, Christian McBride, Jamie Cullum, and many others.
As the leader of The Kris Johnson Group, he has recorded several studio albums including “Odd Expressions”, “Journey Through a Dream” and “The Unpaved Road” with Lulu Fall. He has also produced a series of video projects including live performances, virtual big band videos, and his audiovisual album “SAFE” featuring his abstract illustrations and animation.
Kris received his master’s (2007) and bachelor’s (2005) degrees in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University. He was a full time faculty member at The Ohio State University from 2012 – 2015 as a Jazz Lecturer. He is also the former director of Detroit Symphony’s Civic Jazz Orchestra where he led the most talented students in Metro Detroit. Johnson has also served as a Jazz Artist in Residence at Troy High School, Southfield-Lathrup High School, Eaton Rapids High School, and is the composer and co-creator of The Learning Express, a series of workshops that use hip-hop and jazz to teach elementary students about science, reading, and math.