Ernie Johnson From Detroit is a Cincinnati based big band that blends afrobeat, funk, and jazz with 70s psychedelia and hard rock to create a hypnotic, danceable sound that is both accessible and boundary pushing. Their stage show is known to be a high-energy, infectious dance party that centers on intense, spontaneous improvisation combined with tight, sophisticated compositions that live inside the groove. The band’s horn-heavy arrangements and relentless rhythm section allow for a variety of styles and a layering of dynamics in their improvised jams that make people want to move.
Since 2015, Ernie Johnson From Detroit (the “F” is capitalized) have been performing their unique brand of afrobeat, funk, and jazz. Based in Cincinnati, OH, the members of the band are inspired by artists like Fela Kuti, James Brown, Mulatu Astatke, The Budos Band, and Lettuce amongst others.
The group recorded its first full-length album, Ernie Johnson From Detroit, at the legendary Cyberteknics Creative Studio in Dayton, OH. It was mixed by neo-soul pioneer and Grammy-winning producer, Russ Elevado and mastered by frequent Daptone Records collaborators, Golden Mastering. In April of 2020, Ernie then released their first official double live album, Ernie Johnson From Detroit Live: Vol. I & II, recorded over 2 nights in January of 2020. The first night was recorded inside an old pink church on the East side of Cincinnati, operated by the world famous turntable crew, the Animal Crackers. It was mixed and mastered by Animal Cracker and frequent Bootsy Collins producer, Tobe “Tobotius” Donohue. The second night was recorded the following evening at the Mousetrap in Indianapolis, IN. It was mixed and mastered by Matt Vice. The band’s highly anticipated second studio album, Swamp Nymph, was released in March of 2023 and followed by a sold-out show at The Woodward Theater in Cincinnati, OH. It was recorded at Candyland Studios in Dayton, KY by local Cincinnati musician and producer, John Hoffman and mastered by Candyland/Sofa Burn Records owner, Mike Montgomery.
The members of the group, or “Ernies”, have been friends and musical collaborators since 2012, and began to piece together their very personal collage of musical styles, inspired by tales of shared adventures and by all that is funky and tight. Since bringing their live show to the stage, EJFD has become a crowd favorite, with a number of sold-out shows under their belt, including their annual Ohio River boat cruise, Pelicans on the Breeze.