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Entertainment : Reviews Last Updated: Jun 26th, 2009 - 00:12:06

A Holiday Delight with Smooth Jazz Pianist Marcus Johnson
By KB Betton
Dec 1, 2005, 10:07

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Photo credit:: Marimelj Entertainment Group, LLC

Marcus Johnson’s “Smooth Jazz Christmas” is striking with spirit filled holiday music. Dazzled by eloquence on the keyboard, the artist jazzes up your favorite traditional tunes including “Little Drummer Boy,” White Christmas” and “Let it Snow.” The new album is just right for a nice cold winter night, wrapped tight by the fireplace sipping on eggnog or it is the perfect holiday treat while visiting with family and friends. “We started production for the album this summer,” Johnson told “I remember listening to the songs in the heat of the day, driving around with my windows down. It felt good and had me in the holiday spirit in the middle of July!”

Photo credit: Marimelj Entertainment Group, LLC

Johnson is one of the hardest working artists in and out of the studio these days. He is the CEO/President of Three Keys Music, a division of Marimelj Entertainment Group located outside Washington, DC. Some of the jazz world’s best have signed with the label including jazz great Bobby Lyle, saxophonist Jaared, vocalist Alyson Williams and jazz bass guitarist David Dyson.

Three Keys Music partnered with DC based radio station Smooth Jazz 105.9 FM to release “The Sound of DC.” The sizzling jazz disc features various artists including Richard Elliott, Chaka Kahn, Michael McDonald, Otis Redding and Pieces of a Dream. Johnson’s work as morning announcer on 105.9’s weekday morning show helped to make this another huge success.

Johnson moves across the piano with grace and soul. The Ohio native’s vision became reality after hard work, commitment, and help from a friend, media mogul and BET founder, Robert Johnson. “First, I give credit where credit is due and that’s to God, “said Johnson. “I am very grateful to my fans and Robert Johnson for supporting my efforts and believing in me.”

Photo credit: Marimelj Entertainment Group, LLC

“Just Doing What I Do” is Johnson's latest contemporary jazz album. The project is mixed with DC bounce and jazz offering smooth listening at its best. On the recording, Johnson speaks of the importance of taking the piano and making it his voice. With songs “18th and M,” “Love,” and “Sunday @ Sequoia,” “Just Doing What I Do” brings DC grooves to the world. Johnson said the project was inspired by recent years of his life. “This is nothing but grace that has been bestowed upon me," he said. "I want to please my fans. It’s very personal to look in the crowd and see people smile. I’ve always been that type of person where I wanted to make someone’s day. The same goes for me on the business end with the artists.”

Johnson began his successful journey in 1996 while pursuing both his MBA and Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University, This, after graduating from Howard University where he studied music. “10 years have flown by," Johnson shockingly remarked. "I think its incredible to look back and see how much has been accomplished.”

Community activism is essential for the recording artist. He assisted with organizing and was apart of a star-studded line up at the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, near DC, that raised more than $22,000 dollars this summer for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Johnson takes the time to meet with students promoting excellence in education, setting goals and staying on the right track. His efforts don't stop there. Each employee at Three Keys Music is required to work 15 hours of community service per month and all artists signed to the label are required to volunteer 10 hours of their time throughout the community.

Johnson supports Breast Cancer Research and maintains his partnership with the Breast Cancer Resource Committee (BCRC) and has announced its continued support for breast cancer with the compilation, “It Takes a Village,” originally released in 2001. A portion of the proceeds will support breast cancer research and awareness programs. The jazz album features Marcus Johnson, David Dyson, Bob Baldwin, Marshall Keys, David Bach and more. Johnson said he chose the cause to bring attention to the problem to the largest consumer segment of his business: African American women. Johnson’s aunt died from breast cancer - another important reason that sparked his decision to reach out and help save lives. "It’s all about community,” Johnson told “My dad taught me when I was younger as long as we take care of the streets, the streets will take care of you. I love my community and I am thankful for my fans.”

Johnson is the recipient of the United States Small Business Administration’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award and has been featured in Ebony magazine for “Eligible Bachelor.”

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