Sansone at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
|Jumpin' Johnny Sansone|
September 27, 1957 |
West Orange, New Jersey, United States
|Singer, songwriter, harmonicist, accordionist|
|Instruments||Harmonica, accordion, guitar, piano, vocals|
John "Johnny" Sansone (born September 27, 1957), also known as Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, is an American electric blues singer, songwriter, harmonicist, accordionist, guitarist and piano player. He was nominated for seven music awards in 2012, including a Blues Music Award which he won. To date, he has been involved in the release of eleven original albums.
Sansone was raised in West Orange, New Jersey, United States. His father had played the saxophone in Dave Brubeck's band during World War II, and by the time he was age 12, his son had learned to play the saxophone, guitar and harmonica and seen Howlin' Wolf in concert. He later studied blues harmonica playing by studying both Junior Wells and James Cotton. Sansone attended West Orange High School. He left New Jersey in 1975 on a swimming scholarship at a college in Colorado. Sansone toured in the 1980s supporting Robert Lockwood, Jr., David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Jimmy Rogers.
Sansone moved between Colorado, Austin, Texas, Florida, Chicago, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before settling in 1990 in New Orleans, which has been his home base ever since. His original touring band, known as Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party, recorded their debut album, Where Y'at in 1987, which was released by the independent record label, Kingsnake Records, based in Sanford, Florida.Mr. Good Thing (1991) followed, before Sansone got inspired to try his hand at playing the accordion after attending the funeral of Clifton Chenier.
By the second half of the 1990s, Sansone had embraced Cajun, Southern soul, Chicago and Delta blues into his style and songwriting. The resultant recording, Crescent City Moon (1997), was mainly his own work; although it included a cover version of Ted Hawkins' "Sweet Baby", which featured Sonny Landreth playing slide guitar. The collection included liner notes from Greg "Fingers" Taylor. It received widepread critical approval and several awards, including scooping several Offbeat magazine's 'Best of the Beat' accolades.Rounder Records subsidiary label, Bullseye Blues, issued Waternelon Patch (1999), which saw guest appearances by Jon Cleary (piano) and Joe Krown (organ).
Sansone lost momentum in the early 2000s, although he continued to perform in various musical ensembles, as well as working during the week in construction. He started to play in a trio with Joe Krown and John Fohl. They played traditional blues with Krown on piano, and Fohl and Sansone sharing the vocal duties. This trio Sansone, Krown & Fohl released a self-titled album from Sansone's label ShortStack Records in 2004.
In 2005, Sansone joined the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars (which variously incorporated Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Vidacovich, Anders Osborne, George Porter, Jr., Waylon Thibodeaux, and Tab Benoit), who were interested in promoting local environmental issues. The band became a regular feature at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Having to vacate his home in the legacy of Hurricane Katrina, Sansone continued to tour and perform with the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, wherein he befriended Anders Osborne.Poor Man's Paradise (2007) was Sansone's first solo album for eight years and was produced by Osborne who also played clavinet and slide guitar on two of the tracks. Joe Krown also contributed on the electric organ. In 2009, Sansone played the accordion on Mike Zito's album, Pearl River.
By then playing in another acoustic trio setting, this time with Osborne and Fohl, Sansone was inspired to write the track, "The Lord Is Waiting and The Devil Is Too". It turned in to the title track of his 2011 album, and won the 'Song of the Year' title at the 2012 Blues Music Awards. It provided a release from the stresses of a marital break-up, and the record's producer Osborn pushed Sansone's music towards a more commercial, rock influenced, direction. In October 2012, Sansone performed at the Voodoo Experience in New Orleans, and in December that year, Sansone appeared at the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival.
After a couple of live album releases, Sansone's next studio based creation was Once It Gets Started (2013). Sansone then gave "one of the best individual performances of the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival," according to Offbeat magazine.
In May 2018, Sansone performed again at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
|Year||Title||Record label||Credited to|
|1987||Where Y'at||Kingsnake Records||Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party|
|1991||Mr. Good Thing||Kingsnake Records||Jumpin' Johnny & the Blues Party|
|1997||Crescent City Moon||Rounder Records||Jumpin' Johnny Sansone|
|1999||Watermelon Patch||Rounder Records||Johnny Sansone|
|2004||Sansone, Krown & Fohl||ShortStack Records||Sansone, Krown & Fohl|
|2007||Poor Man's Paradise||CD Baby||Johnny Sansone|
|2011||The Lord Is Waiting and The Devil Is Too||ShortStack Records||Johnny Sansone|
|2011||Live at Jazz Fest 2011||Homegrown Distribution||Jumpin' Johnny Sansone|
|2012||Live at JazzFest 2012||MunckMix||Jumpin' Johnny Sansone|
|2013||Once It Gets Started||ShortStack Records||Johnny Sansone|
|2015||Lady on the Levee||ShortStack Records||Johnny Sansone|