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    Guitarist Jef Lee Johnson Passes Away at 54

    Longtime top session guitarist Jef Lee Johnson passed away earlier this week at the age of 54.

    Johnson started his career playing gospel music but a move to New York from Philadelphia opened doors for him leading to gigs with, amongst others, Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society and McCoy Tyner.

    His first recording was on violinist John Blake's Twinkling of an Eye in 1995 and his work with Blake gave way to further work with scores of big name acts including Billy Joel, Teddy Pendergrass, George Duke, The Roots, Melody Gardot, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau and Esperanza Spalding. The mid 1980s also saw Johnson serving a brief stint as lead guitarist in Paul Shaffer's band on Late Night with David Letterman.

    Johnson also recorded a number of albums as a leader, starting with 1995's Blue and ending in 2009's Bob Dylan tribute, The Zimmerman Shadow.


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