NEW ORLEANS --With a personality as jovial as his horn playing, multi-instrumentalist Ronell Johnson is one of the busiest cats blowing, and he had the benefit of a starting out with his musical family long ago.
"I got started playing when I was about 6," Johnson says. "I remember playing with my toys and my oldest brother took the toys and stuck a trumpet in it. I started playing professionally about the age of 12. I was the church organist and trumpet and trombonist and tuba with different jazz bands and stuff."
That's right, Johnson plays all those instruments, but he's also got a favorite.
"Definitely the trombone."
He's pretty darn good. Johnson is the trombonist of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He started out there, alternating with Ben Jaffe on tuba, but eventually landed on the horn he loves.
Now he tours the world spreading New Orleans music and meeting the giants of the music biz.
Johnson's even got a favorite destination: Seoul, South Korea.
"I really loved Seoul. I think it's because there's so many people there that's so happy. They're such happy people, and I'm always silly and happy so when we get there, there's an immediate great connection. I'm even at the airport dancing through customs. Whoomp, there it is."