After attending Berklee College of Music and joining the Manhattan Transfer in 1977, Wayne has taken plenty of time off from the gig to keep his solo interests alive. Wayne’s “Trio,” which adds Bill Berg on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass, has also been performing and recording since the late 1970s. With six Trio recordings and one solo acoustic CD to his credit, Wayne has also recorded and performed with an eclectic group of artists, in addition to the Manhattan Transfer.

During the last five-year hiatus from the Transfer, Wayne performed and recorded with Rickie Lee Jones for two years, opened as a solo acoustic act for and recorded and performed with John Tesh for two years, toured and recorded with Akiko Yano in Japan, and recorded a duo project with fellow guitarist Jeff Richman, which the two took on the road through Europe. He has also performed and recorded with Lee Oskar of War.

Wayne has recently relocated to North County San Diego to concentrate on writing and recording. Although he keeps a busy schedule with the Manhattan Transfer, his main focus is new material for performance and education. Wayne still plays with the original members of his trio, and has added Don Grusin on keyboards and Charlie Bisharat on violin when performing in the LA area. In San Diego, Wayne has a new “garage” band for writing and performing locally. Off the road and not performing live, Wayne produces music for a variety of situations and is a guest instructor at M.I.T. (Musician’s Institute of Technology) and L.A.M.A. (Los Angeles Music Academy).

Wayne’s new solo acoustic venture, “One Guitar,” was just released in September 2003 on Solid Air Records. It is an excursion into adventurous solo acoustic playing, with the addition of tapping and hitting the guitar using a variety of techniques improvisationally in real time so as to resemble interplay with a real percussionist.

Click buttons below to hear mp3 excerpts:



My Secret

For Sodie's Sake

For Sodie's Sake

[NOTE: To date, the MP3 files play beautifully for Mac users.
About 50% of the PC users report success—the rest....?
Efforts are being made to create Windows Media files,
but in the meantime, try downloading the Quicktime plugin
which can be found at,
available for ALL computers.]

Direct mp3 links:
Firefly Baby My Secret Sodie1 Sodie2

Starting in mid-October, Wayne goes on tour with the Manhattan Transfer to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea, with final concerts in Florida and North Dakota.

Recordings (Wayne Johnson Trio, solo, and other):

“Arrowhead” 1980 Inner City Records
“Grasshopper” 1983 I.P.I. Records
“Everybody’s Painting Pictures” 1985 Zebra Records
“Spirit of the Dancer” 1988 Zebra/MCA Records
“Keeping the Dream Alive” 1993 MoJazz/Motown Records
“Grasshopper” Re-release 1994 MoJazz/Motown Records
“MoJazz Christmas Album” 1995 MoJazz/Motown Records
“Kindred Spirits” solo acoustic 1996 GTSP/Polygram Records
“Apache” Gt. Duo w/Jeff Richman 2000 Miramar Recordings
“One Guitar” Acoustic Solos 2003 Solid Air Records


Photo credit: Charlie Daniels

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