Marc Johnson

When Marc Johnson left North Texas State University in 1977, it was through a revolving door into the Woody Herman Orchestra. Two years prior, the Herd had picked up its entire rhythm section from that school: pianist Lyle Mays, drummer Steve Houghton, and bassist Kerby Stewart. So when the bass chair opened up again, it was only natural that Mays would suggest Johnson, his classmate and collaborator, for the gig.

Although his time in a big band was invaluable, Johnson had his heart set on playing in small group settings. What he didn’t expect was that when the opportunity to join a piano trio arose 10 months later, it would be with the very group that had caused him to fall in love with the format: the Bill Evans Trio.

“It was my dream gig,” Johnson recalls. “Even if

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