Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson
"With Whitney Houston, I have an extensive acoustic array of percussion colors, and some electronics," says Bashiri Johnson. "Her music goes from the heavier R&B stuff to the house stuff with I'm Every Woman, to the real sensitive ballads like I Will Always Love You, and I like the octopus approach to percussion, where you integrate everything."
Bashiri got to hang out with percussionist and producer Mtume in the 1970s, learning drum and studio chops in the process. After playing on gold records like Luther Vandross' Never Too Much and Madonna's Holiday, Bashiri's career was up and running. Producers began calling because they wanted to use the guy who worked on all these hit records.
Johnson now has his own production company Bashman Productions and recording studio, The Lab Brooklyn. "My take on the contemporary percussionist," Bashiri says "is to get the calls you gotta be diversified and able to handle a multiple of different situations." Bashiri can be heard on recordings by Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Anita Baker, The Spice Girls, Maxwell, Gloria Estafan, Angelique Kidjo, Nicole Renee, Diana Ross, Peter Wolf, Aretha Franklin, Eagle Eye Cherry, Grover Washington, Boyz II Men and Dionne Farris. Beside recordings Bashiri's talent has led him to play on live television, commercials and movie soundtracks.
Bashiri has also completed a percussion sample library of loops and sounds called "Supreme Beats," available from Spectrasonics, and "Ethno Techno" from Ilio. He's excited about the new sounds available from LP. "I like their World Beat catalog because people are looking to me for sounds that make you think when you hear them because you're not sure what they are. I use non-traditional combinations of instruments to come up with unique sounds and parts."