NEPA Scene Staff

Founding Allman Brothers drummer brings Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band to Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Jan. 13

Founding Allman Brothers drummer brings Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band to Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Jan. 13
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From a press release:

Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, led by The Allman Brothers Band founding drummer Jai Johanny Johanson, will visit the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at 8 p.m. as part of the venue’s “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” concert series, sponsored by City Market & Café.

Tickets, which are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show, plus fees, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Kirby Center box office (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), online at, and by phone at 570-826-1100.

A man of a few names, Jaimoe (Jai Johanny Johanson) is a legendary drummer and percussionist best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers.

Born in Mississippi in 1944, Johanson came up, as did so many Southern musicians at the time, playing the soul music circuit. One of his first big breaks – and one of his most treasured recollections – was touring behind the legendary R&B trailblazer Otis Redding. “I learned so much from Otis,” Johanson says now.

In 1969, Johanson found himself in Macon, Georgia, where he was introduced to a young hotshot guitarist named Duane Allman by record execs Phil Walden and Jerry Wexler.

“I guess they figured that a long-haired hippie and a strange-ass drummer would be good together,” Johanson says.

Along with Duane’s younger brother Gregg on keyboards, second guitarist Dickey Betts, and an exceptional rhythm section that included bassist Berry Oakley and Johanson’s 40+ year drum partner Butch Trucks, The Allman Brothers Band was soon on its way to immortality.

The Allmans’ place in rock history is set in stone – being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and locally founding the Peach Music Festival in Scranton – but at the moment, Johanson’s excitement is directed toward the Jasssz Band.

“We’re not gonna guide it this way or that way,” he says. “We’re gonna let it go and we’re gonna tag along for the ride. It’s improvised music and it’s American music. That’s why it’s Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, because improvised American music is jazz.”

Johanson’s sensational septet also features the incredible Junior Mack on vocals, guitars, and Dobro; David Stoltz on bass; Reggie Pittman on trumpet and flugelhorn; Paul Lieberman playing tenor and alto saxophone and flute; Kris Jensen on tenor, baritone, and soprano saxes; and Bruce Katz working the Hammond B3 organ and piano.