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Jazz Clarinetist Dick Johnson Dies at 84

Boston-based player fronted Artie Shaw band for over 20 years

Dick Johnson
Dick Johnson with Artie Shaw Orchestra

Dick Johnson, perhaps best known for his long stint as frontman for the Artie Shaw Orchestra, died in the Boston area on Sunday, January 10. Johnson died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston after a brief illness, according to the Conley Funeral Home. He was 84 years old.

Johnson was born December 1, 1925 and grew up in the Brockton, Mass area as part of a musical family. He got his professional start as a musician during a stint with the U.S. Navy in 1944-1946. Johnson served with the navy band on the USS Pasadena during WWII. He often credited his stint in the Navy for kicking off his career in jazz.

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