Voted "Outstanding Horn Player" in the 2015 BLUES AUDIENCE Reader's Poll
Voted "Outstanding Singer: Male" (along with Sugar Ray Norcia) in the 2007 BLUES AUDIENCE Reader's Poll
"He does things with his trumpet that few musicians do. He can take his instrument to the extreme; horn blasts with a lot of melody and texture and everything else in the colors and tones." - Bill Copeland Music News, 8/8/10
JOHNNY BLUE HORN has entertained countless fans of music in Boston, Providence and the Northeast region since the 1980's. He has since become a double-barreled performer as both a trumpeter and vocalist encompassing a varied range of musical styles, from gritty Memphis R&B to rhythmic New Orleans second-line jazz; from swingin' Kansas City blues to heartfelt '70's soul.
Born in Germany and raised in rural Connecticut, JBH discovered the magic of music through the radio stations he listened to as a child. But it was after hearing records by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass that he first picked up the trumpet at the age of eight. In his teens, he learned technique through private instruction and improvisation by playing along with the various LP’s at his disposal at home.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, JBH moved to Boston in 1983 and quickly immersed himself in the area’s music scene, developing and adding vocals to his entertainment arsenal in the process. From 1985 to 1991, he performed as a singing horn player with local rock- and R&B-based bands such as Drive All Night, The Crime and Push It Good.
JBH delved into the blues in 1992 by joining the Roadhouse Sheiks as frontman, finding a new outlet of expression while acquiring an affinity for the great New Orleans trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt and Louis Prima, and a deeper appreciation for soulful blues singers like Bobby "Blue" Bland and Johnny Adams. When the Sheiks disbanded in 1995, he helped round out the lineup of what became Mission Of Blues, one of the Boston area’s most entertaining blues-based bands. With JBH up front, the MOB went on to finish first in the 1999 Boston Blues Challenge and participated the following year in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Eleven years and two self-produced CD’s later, JBH departed the MOB and satisfied a craving for classic soul music by teaming up in 2006 with the Chicken Slacks, Boston’s hardest working soul/R&B band, as part of the two-man Chicken Slacks Brass Attack until January of 2010. (EDIT: JBH has recently rejoined the Slacks for another go-round of musical madness!)
Throughout this journey from band to band, JBH has put his talents to work by performing with a plethora of regional, national and international artists and bands who have called upon the Blue Horn to add some special magic to their sound. These artists include Roberto Morbioli, Gracie Curran, Toni Lynn Washington, Diane Blue, Brian Templeton, the Hot Tamale Brass Band, Ricky "King" Russell, "Sax Gordon" Beadle, and many others.
As for the Blue Horn itself, JBH acquired his Holton MF Admiral blue-lacquer trumpet in 1997 from a now-defunct music dealer in Cambridge, MA. (He also uses a copper-brass Barrington flugelhorn on occasion, but somehow the name “Johnny Copper Flugel” just doesn’t quite have the same ring.)