saxophonist, Composer, Entertainer
1957, Newport, South Wales, Great Britain.
introduction to the saxophone began at the age of
twenty after spotting the instrument in a junk
shop in his home town. His early influences came
during this period when he first heard
saxophonist David Sanborn performing on David
Bowie's album 'Young Americans'. From then on, he
himself to play after his saxophone teacher
failed to turn up after his second lesson, Johnny
played briefly with local New Wave bands Ralph
and the Ponytails and Rudy and
the Russians, before going on to
co-found a reggae band called The Beat
Roots. Establishing a good following on
the live music scene, they recorded a single with
UB40 producer Bob Lamb, getting
air-play on BBC Radio One.
1983, The Beat Roots disbanded, and Johnny was
now living in London. He jammed with former Soft
Machine saxophonist Elton Dean
and was shown some 'alternative fingering'
techniques on the instrument by another top
International saxophonist Dick Morrissey,
both of whom spurred him on with their
For the next three years, Johnny would
perform his solo show in London's Covent Garden,
and in 1985 he performed at The Edinburgh
Festival. He started to write his own songs,
constructing them first on guitar, before
performing them in a studio on saxophone. He
produced three albums in three years...
to record producer Bob Lamb's studio in
Birmingham to record his album 'Sidewalk
Silhouette' which was to feature a
number of his original compositions. A friendship
and working relationship would now begin with
fellow Welsh musicians Carl Simmonds
and Hywel Maggs.
1987 Johnny moved to Windsor, Berkshire, and was
spotted by TV A.M.'s fitness guru Lizzie
Webb. She regularly worked out to his
music on air and in 1989 Johnny made a live
appearance with her on the breakfast show
performing one of his original tunes 'Bigger Than
The Sky'. By now, Johnny had released the album
'Road Works' (1988) which was his first album of
entirely original material. Johnny went on to
write the theme tune for Lizzie's hit children's
television series screened on Channel Four and
subsequent videos. Johnny's performances were now
taking him to France, Germany, Austria and
Switzerland and many bookings now ensued.
Also working as an
entertainer in Covent Garden at that time was
rising star Eddie Izzard. Eddie
asked Johnny to co-appear on a television
documentary in 1989 about London's South Bank.
The documentary featured two of Johnny's original
compositions (included on the album 'Road
In 1990 Johnny
recorded his album 'Juked', a collection of 1950's
covers, which would also prove to be an extremely
popular selling album.
Johnny appeared alongside Carl and Hywel in the house
band on the HTV series, 'The Mike Doyle'
show, a six-week stint during which Johnny backed '60s
band The Drifters amongst others.
came his next CD 'Fat
which 50% features more original compositions.
invited by well-known actress and producer Kate
Williams to perform at a number of charity shows
staged at The Stratford Theatre Royal in London sharing
the bill with comedian Brian Conley.
mid-'90s Johnny started to make his first trips to The
Algarve in Portugal, where he spends most of the year
entertaining tourists from all over the world. Johnny's
influences would now include the sax styles of Earl
Bostic and King Curtis, attributing a certain maturity to
his playing. Johnny Hooper is a passionate player with a
tremendously expressive sound. In line with the increase
in performances, Johnny's unique style is reflected in
his phenomenal CD sales. The demand for his music has
been increasing year by year winning him many fans the
'For The City'
'Misty' (1995), 'In The Mood' (1997)
In 2000 Johnny really
wanted to play with a band again and decided to
form a quintet with his good friends and top
session players Carl Simmonds (keyboards) and
Hywel Maggs (guitar), to include in his, by now,
annual winter tour of the UK.
The chemistry was fantastic and a live album 'Live at the
Watermill' was recorded in
January 2000 in Surrey during a sell-out concert
tour that winter. The band also featured Greg
Evans on bass and Gregory
Sinclair Evans on drums. The
Johnny Hooper Band received a standing
2001 saw the introduction to the band of the
charasmatic Eiron Goss on
keyboards and the highly-acclaimed five-piece is
now a firm feature of Johnny's winter gigs,
adding another dimension to his dynamic
2001 came the release of 'I Believe' which is also the first
album to be recorded in Portugal with top
producer and fellow British saxophonist Tony
Johnny Hooper's 9th recording comes in the
form of 'Secret
Jewels' which was released in December 2003.
In early 2005, Johnny received an
email from Randy Alpert, the
composer of the Grammy award-winning 'Rise'.
He wanted to hear Johnny's version of the tune
which appears on Secret Jewels.
Randy was impressed with Johnny's version and
later played it to his uncle Herb Alpert,
who performed the original version. Another email
soon followed remarking that Herb had really 'dug
it' and that Johnny "plays with
a lot of soul and a great tone."
here for Album Reviews...
HOOPER'S SAXOPHONE BISTRO
In June 2006, Johnny set up his own
successful and very popular live music and
entertainment venue/restaurant in Albuefeira, 'Johnny
Hooper's Saxophone Bistro'. Attracting
many regular and long-standing fans as well as
new-comers he performs and entertains the
audience two nights a week from March to
November. The buzzy atmosphere is incredible as
the diners are treated to mellow renditions
during the early part of the evening. Johnny
proves a great host and really entertains with
his fun music quiz during the break and then soon
gets the crowd up dancing while he performs his
livelier set on the saxophone before turning DJ
into the small hours. A truly memorable night out
and not to be missed!
|Album number 10 was recorded
in January 2008. Johnny returned to Pinewood
Audio to record 'Smile'
with Carl and Hywel and for the
first time brought a horn section into the
studio. Johnny also brought in his daughter Greta
Hooper to sing backing vocals on the
album. 'Smile' was released in Portugal in
September 2008 and in the UK in December 2008.
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