Leslie Carole Johnson was the founder and editor of The Mississippi Rag from 1973 until shortly before her death in 2009. In January 2007, she attended the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) conference in New York City, and she was included on a panel entitled “Trad Jazz is Alive and Well.” (Ironically, there were no trad jazz groups performing during the convention.)
Monk Rowe, director of the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, interviewed Leslie Johnson during the conference, on January 12, 2007, and has just posted the interview on the Fillius Jazz Archive YouTube channel. The archive consists of scores of interviews like this one with musicians and others that make up the jazz community.
Leslie Johnson is of vital importance as a pioneer of the type of jazz journalism The Syncopated Times now uniquely provides. We identify completely with the struggles and problems she describes during this invaluable interview; those challenges are our own. We are grateful to her for clearing the trail ahead of us, and we are deeply thankful to Monk Rowe for making this interview available for all to see.