Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson
* July 08, 1944
United States
Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson is best known as one of two drummers and founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, alongside second drummer Butch Trucks.

Jai Johanny Johanson was born as John Lee Johnson on July 8, 1944, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, but is frequently known by the stage names Jaimoe or Jaimo.

Johanson came up in the rhythm and blues world and began drumming at an early age, often accompanied by friend Lamar Williams on bass. Johanson was a member of Otis Redding's touring band in 1966, later touring with Sam and Dave.

After joining up with Duane Allman in February 1969, he quickly became the first recruit into Allman's new group, soon joined by bassist Berry Oakley, fellow drummer Butch Trucks, guitarist Dickey Betts and, in late March 1969, Allman's younger brother, singer, organist and pianist Gregg Allman. The group, quickly named after the brothers Allman, began recording demos that April in Macon, Georgia, which became the group's spiritual home.

In 1976, after six albums and hundreds of concerts, the group disbanded, with Betts and the younger Allman (the elder Allman having died in 1971) focusing on their own careers and Johanson joining forces with Chuck Leavell (pianist for the group from 1972 on) and Lamar Williams (bassist for the group after Oakley's 1972 death) in the jazz-rock combo Sea Level.

Jai Johanny Johanson drummed for the group on their first three albums, before rejoining The Allman Brothers Band in 1979.

Being fired from the Allmans in late 1980 due to increasing back problems (stemming from a 1974 automobile accident) and the group's financial woes, Johanson lived near poverty in Macon for nearly a decade before being invited back into the group in 1989. Nearly two decades later, Jai Johanny Johanson continues to record and perform with the Allman Brothers Band today.

Bio from jaimoe.com

Legendary drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Jaimoe and his Jasssz Band play American music. They combine elements of Jazz, Blues, Rock-n-Roll, and R&B into a unique blend that captures the spirit and stirs the soul.

Their repertoire ranges from new interpretations of classic tunes, as well as original songs that are classics in the making. Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band features Jaimoe - drums, Junior Mack - guitar and vocals, Dave Stoltz - bass, Bruce Katz - keyboards, and some of the finest horn players of our time, including Paul Lieberman - sax, flute, and piccalo, Kris Jensen - sax and Reggie Pittman - trumpet. Check out the rest of the website and see what the Jasssz is all about.

Jaimoe, man of many names, and one of the original six band members, has combined forces with fellow drummer and percussionist Butch Trucks in a million subtle, driving, playful, and energizing ways to keep the music on track and flowing.

Jaimoe himself contributes the following biographical insights: This is Jaimoe.

No, I did not play at Monterey. I played with Otis Redding 4/18/66 through 9/5/66 in the band that did "Otis - Live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go". I joined that band a week after that record was recorded. A very good friend of mine, a very good sax player and a hell of an organizer, Donald "Cadillac" Henry, was a great reason for me getting that break and a lot of others, right up to the fact of the reason I was in Macon was because Donald told me to go to Macon. Phil Walden was putting a recording studio in Macon which was Capricorn Records. Phil Walden and Otis Redding had a company called Redwal Music.

On 4/18/66 Otis had about a 9-piece band. I joined that band in Dallas, TX. In less than two weeks it was 13 pieces. Edward "Woody" Woodson was the other drummer in that band. Woody was the drummer on "Live at the Whiskey". I really learned about playing live rhythm & blues and rock & roll from Woody Woodson & Butch Trucks. Woody could take a bass drum, snare, floor tom, hi-hat, and crash & ride cymbal and swing your ass from Washington, D.C. to L.A. In three weeks we were in the Apollo Theatre in New York. Now we've got 18 pieces. I played in my first big band. I backed Percy Sledge, Patti Labelle & the Blue Bells, the 5 Stairsteps, Brenda & the Tabulations, and the Manhattans. The Howard Theatre in D.C. was another 18-piece band. Added to that show was Smokey Robinson & the Miracles & band, also Martha & the Vandellas, and the Kin Folks, a bad ass 4-piece band out of L.A.

The next stop was the Regal Theatre in Chicago. By now we had 22-pieces and the co-star was the Queen of Soul. That's right. The Lady Aretha. She had her own rhythm section. I was glad I didn't have to play behind her. She raised hell about one thing or another the entire week. I played again with the Stairsteps, Patti Labelle, and 5 guys called the Step Brothers. They were tap dancing acrobats about in their 50s and 60s. They were one of the top tap dance acts of all times. They offered me a gig in Vegas, but I had to turn them down. I was having too much fun and learning a lot playing behind all of those people in those big bands and orchestras.

I also had a great offer from Curtiss Mayfield & the Impressions. They said my playing reminded them of Leo Morris, a New Orleans drummer who we know today as Idris Muhammed. I can thank Charles "Honeyboy" Otis for that one for Honeyboy was a great influence on Idris, "Smokey" Johnson, Zigaboo, John Boudreau, Jr., and a lot more than he's given credit for. Honeyboy is the reason that I can play as many styles as I can. Also listening to all that stuff Earl Palmer did on those records, Honeyboy turned me on to Earl Palmer.

Just for the record, that photo I am on with Otis is 1966 in Columbus, GA at the Columbus Auditorium, where you cross the river into the Central Time zone and into Phoenix, Alabama.

I did a 42-date tour with Otis -- 41 days back-to-back with a day off. We did a TV show, "The Big Beat", hosted by a disc jockey from the famous WLAC in Nashville who on the day of taping of the show got drunk couldn't go on.
So Otis not only starred the show, but mced and hosted the show. I played behind James Carr, Mitty Collier, the Ovations, Garnette Mims, Patti Labelle & the Bluebells, Percy Sledge, Sam & Dave & band co-stars. Woody played behind Otis. That night I played 3 hours at the Parrot Jazz Club with whoever got on the stage. The next night we did the 42nd, show. Great tour. I learned a lot from Otis. I didn't realize it at the time.

Thank you, Otis.
Love, Jaimoe

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