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Music Plays on in Tribute to Blues Pianist

Trumpeter Oliver Johnson plays at Johnnie Johnson's visitation on Thursday (KWMU photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. –

Hundreds of people turned out in north St. Louis Thursday to pay tribute to rock and roll luminary Johnnie Johnson, who passed away last Wednesday.

His visitation became a daylong jam session led by Johnson's fellow musicians and friends who worked with him over the course of his 50-year career.

Guitarist Tom Maloney says Johnson never failed to amaze him.

"I worked with him for a long time, and (he) always would hit licks at some point in the night that just made me forget what I was doing, where I was and go WHOO! You know, that was Johnnie," Maloney said.

Johnson was 80 years old. His funeral will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in St. Louis.

KWMU's Kevin Lavery was at the visitation and prepared this appreciation, which can be heard by clicking the 'listen' icon above.


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