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Matt Johnson

The Jet Set Quintet


Considered one of Southern California's most versatile drummers, The Los Angeles Times proclaimed Matt Johnson “a hurricane on sticks!” and “His brush work recalls the footwork of a great dancer.” Best known for his jazz stylings, Johnson is equally versed in all forms of pop drumming and has
performed with a range of entertainers from singers Julie Andrews and Andy Williams to Surfrock pioneers Jan and Dean to big band legends Billy May and Les Brown. His extensive list of credits includes radio and television “jingles”; TV and film soundtracks; jazz recordings as a sideman and leader, as well as countless lives performances on national and international stages. Modern Drummer Magazine said Johnson possesses “captivating technique and creativity." Johnson’s talents don’t lie in performance alone. He is also a gifted teacher who, since 1993, has worked to inspire the next generation of young drummers as part of the music faculty of Fullerton College www.fullcoll.edu and the Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Summer Jazz Camp www.idyllwildarts.org. One student’s recent entry on Ratemyprofessor.com said of Professor Johnson, “Discipline and control dominate his playing and teaching . . . personality and charisma bring students back again and again.” That same personality and charisma has helped to make Johnson an in-demand guest speaker at numerous music educator conventions. He has presented his popular performance/lecture So Many Drummers, So Little Time and What to Play When the Drum Chart Says “Latin” for the annual gatherings of the California Music Educators Association, Arizona Music Educators Association and the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, among others. Johnson furthers his visibility in the music education community by serving as Master of Ceremonies for Forum Music Festivals www.forummusicfestivals.com – a company committed to producing positive performance and music education experiences for young musicians. Johnson is on the artist roster of Paiste Cymbals www.paiste.com and Aquarian Drumheads www.aquariandrumheads.com. He and his family live in Southern California – just steps from the ocean, where he enjoys surfing with his two teenager children. The Early Years From 1979 to 1990 Matt Johnson was a full-time staff musician at Disneyland USA. Since 1986, he has been a part of a number of exceptionally creative ensembles, among them, the critically acclaimed Palm Springs Yacht Club, a musical comedy quartet delivering hot jazz from the 20’s and 30’s. In collaboration with the renowned composer and arrange, Tom Kubis, he co-created the nine-piece early-jazz show band Swing Savant, described by the Los Angeles Times as “the Casa Loma Orchestra on acid,” and the Tom Kubis Big Band, a brass, reed and rhythm powerhouse. Most recently, Johnson has been the driving force behind the Atomic-Age lounge ensembles the Hi-Fi Quintet and the Jet Set Quintet.


  • Blue Room, The Tony Guerrero Quartet, Charlston Square Records, 2010
  • This Is The Hi-Fi Quintet, the Hi-Fi Quintet, SwingFest Records, 2006
  • Introducing The Hi Hi-Quintet, the Hi-Fi Quintet, SwingFest Records, 2004
  • Pulling Strings, The Lori Andrews Jazz Harp quartet, Jazz Harp Records, 2001
  • Fast Cars and Fascinating Women, The Steve Allen Big Band, Sea Breeze Jazz, 1996
  • TRAD to the Second Power, Swing Savant, Ad Lib Records, 1993
  • At Last, Tom Kubis Big Band, Cexton Records, 1992

Drumhead Setup

Snare - coated Studio-X
Toms - coated Studio-X on top, Classic Clears on bottom
Bass Drum - Superkick II

Artist Media

On The Sunny Side Of The Street

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And Then She Stopped
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Matt Plays Aquarian
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