Conrad O. Johnson was a legendary music composer and former director of the Kashmere Stage Band in Houston, Texas. Also called “Thunder Soul,” the award-winning band was founded by Johnson at the predominately black Kashmere High School. Under Johnson’s direction, the school band recorded eight albums and became national champions from the 1960’s to 1978. The band traveled to Europe and Japan to spread their sound across the world.
Conrad “Prof” Johnson graduated from Wiley College and was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. He worked with the Count Basie Orchestra and was asked to join Erskine Hawkins’ band, but turned it down because he just wanted to teach music. After attending an Otis Redding concert in 1967, he knew what kind of music he wanted to teach.
Johnson wrote the songs for the band, including “Zero Point,” “Lost Love” and “Kashmere”. He owned Kram Records, which was the label for each of the eight albums and three LPs recorded by the Kashmere Stage Band. The band was voted “Best Stage Band in the Nation” in 1972.
Johnson taught students from 1941 to 1978. He was inducted into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2000. His compositions for the Kashmere Band were sampled on a Handsome Boy Modeling School album. DJ Shadow’s track, “Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II)”, samples “Kashmere” from the album Kashmere Stage Band Plays Originals.
In 2008, Director Mark Landsman filmed a documentary about the legendary band called “Thunder Soul,” named after the band’s third album. As part of the final cuts, thirty of the former band members reunited and reminisced for two concert performances, still seeking the approval of Conrad “Prof” Johnson, who was then 92 years old. The film, which was narrated by Academy Award winner and executive producer, Jamie Foxx, was released in 2010. It was nominated for five major documentary awards (including 2 NAACP Image Awards) and won a Lone Star State award at the SXSW Festival.
Conrad Johnson passed away in 2008, hours after the final reunion concert was performed in his honor. In his memoriam, the Conrad Johnson Music and Fine Arts Foundation at Texas Southern University was established.
Listen to music by the Kashmere Stage Band below.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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