Jef Lee Johnson died on Monday, January 28, 2013 in Roxborough Memorial Hospital of complications of pneumonia and diabetes. He was 54.
Jef was an incredible musician. I always enjoyed our conversations, which would cover music, art, politics, and sometimes dark and sad matters. I’ve been listening to his music non-stop since I heard the news of his passing. I still can’t believe he’s dead.
“Jungle” was one of Jef’s signature songs. In concert, Jef would sometimes stretch the song out to last half an hour or more. Like all of his performances, they were overwhelming expressions, where the dynamic of tension-and-release became something you could touch, or, rather, that could crush you.
Here’s my tribute to him: