’s Essentials is excited to announce Alfonso Johnson and Chester Thompson have joined Unitopia as the band’s new powerhouse rhythm section.

Alfonso Johnson, bass (Weather Report, Santana, David Gilmour) Alphonso Johnson is an iconic musician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania whose contributions with the electric bass set the landscape of music to come. As Weather Report’s bassist, Johnson’s warm tone and fluent chops contributed to the band’s initial breakout from avant-garde into funk fusion. His playing was featured on the songs “Mysterious Traveler”, “Scarlet Woman”, and “Cucumber Slumber” which he co-wrote. Alphonso played with the group Santana and toured with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist James Beard, drummer Rodney Holmes, and guitarist David Gilmore playing S.R.O. shows that stretched across Europe and Japan. Johnson has taught all over the world and in 2004 was appointed Adjunct Professor of Music at the University of Southern California and Part-Time Lecturer at The California Institute of The Arts.

Chester Thompson, drums (Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Genesis, Phil Collins) Chester Thompson is a renowned drummer/percussionist, highly regarded for his ability to move seamlessly between multiple genres. Thompson’s known best for his work with Genesis and Phil Collins, with whom he shared the worldwide stage, as well as time in the studio, for over 30 years.  Other notable legends Chester performed or recorded with include Frank Zappa, Weather Report, John Fogerty, Santana, Michael McDonald, Freddie Hubbard, Ahmad Jamal, Kirk Whalum, Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’. He had the privilege recently of recording on the 2018 Grammy Award winning CD called TajMo.

Chester just recorded his latest album, Steppin’, at Sweetwater Music as part of their Recording Workshop Series. It was released on May 1, 2019.  The album features Alphonso Johnson on bass, Joe Davidian on piano and keyboards, Rod McGaha on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Tony Carpenter on percussion.

Over the past 20 years when Chester was not performing live, doing sessions, clinics, or writing, he spent his time teaching percussion lessons in the Greater Nashville Area. In addition, from 1998-2018 he served as an Adjunct Professor at the esteemed Belmont University in Nashville, TN teaching drum set.

Look for news and updates on

About’s Essentials is a boutique rock label and distributer from Chicago whose first two releases were, 71319: Val Gracious / Phideaux / Steve Unruh – Live at Monforti Manor and Discipline’s Unfolded Like Staircase – The Terry Brown Mix.’s Essentials recently announced Unitopia as the first band to sign onto the label.

Media Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @EssentialProg


Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial