It distresses me no end to tell you that my friend, drummer/percussionist/actor Bunchy Johnson died early this morning.
Bunchy lit up the world with his smile, talent and beautiful spirit. He was one of those people who consistently made you feel good about life and yourself. Bunchy is featured in the upcoming HBO series Treme and lately was a part of the ensemble of “Joint’s Jumpin’,” a tribute to classic New Orleans R&B that regularly plays at Harrah’s New Orleans.
From Harrah’s “Joint’s Jumpin'” Web site:
Bernard “Bunchy” Johnson grew up along the musically fertile streets of uptown New Orleans’ 13th Ward and downtown’s Treme neighborhood. As a youngster he second lined with Mardi Gras Indians in Uptown’s Shakespeare Park, as well as in Treme, home of some of the city’s best brass bands.
At 19, Bunchy went on tour with King Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, and Candi Staton. He returned to New Orleans to perform with Clarence “Frogman” Henry and The Deacons, the precursor to Chocolate Milk. He also performed and/or recorded with Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, The Dixie Cups, Irma Thomas, Lloyd Price, Jean Knight, Ernie K-Doe, Johnny Adams, and Ruth Brown. When drummer James Black passed away Bunchy took his place in Dave Bartholemew’s band.
God bless you, Bunchy. You will be sorely, sorely missed by the New Orleans music community and by your friends and family.