At times sounding indistinguishable soloing side by side, trombonists Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson gained unexpected fame from a series of collaborative efforts cut during the mid-'50s. Sandwiched between their initial Savoy outing and several Columbia releases (and a later reunion session for Impulse), 1955's Nuf Said features the soloists in a buoyant West Coast mood on several medium- to fast-tempo swingers. Winding and Johnson both turn in fluid, tonally rounded statements, while pianist Dick Katz, bassists Milt Hinton and Wendell Marshall, and drummer Al Harewood (using brushes most of the time) provide plush rhythmic support…
This seven-CD limited-edition box set from Mosaic is another mind-boggling collection. The masterful trombonist J.J. Johnson recorded steadily for Columbia during the 1956-61 period, heading groups that ranged from quartets to sextets that performed solid hard bop. Johnson is joined on various selections by tenors Bobby Jaspar (doubling on flute) and Clifford Jordan; cornetist Nat Adderley; the young trumpeter Freddie Hubbard; pianists Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton, and Victor Feldman; bassists Percy Heath, Wilbur Little, Paul Chambers, Spanky DeBrest, Arthur Harper, and Sam Jones; and drummers Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Albert "Tootie" Heath, and Louis Hayes.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar".
Verve 60th Anniversary Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. This is one of the more obscure J.J. Johnson LPs. On six of the ten songs, the great trombonist is joined by four others, while the remaining four tracks (the main reasons to search for this album) feature him in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Walter Perkins. Johnson's writing on the larger group pieces lifts the material, which is all taken from Broadway shows, while his playing on the quartet tracks is up to his usual level. Some of the songs are now forgotten, but "My Favorite Things," "Make Someone Happy" and "Put on a Happy Face" are exceptions. This album has some good music, but it will be very difficult to find.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest, hardest albums that trombonist JJ Johnson ever cut for Columbia – a session we'd rank right up there with his amazing JJ Inc record, and like that one a really cooking hardbop record that maybe even rivals the best on Blue Note and Prestige at the time! As with that gem, the strength here is really the group – not just tremendous trombone from JJ, but great work from Nat Adderley on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, Cedar Walton on piano, Spanky DeBrest on bass, and Albert Heath on drums – all working with a soaring, soulful energy that's a lot more hardbop heavy than you might expect from JJ Johnson on some of his other projects for the label.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo was only 22 years old when he recorded Winds of Barcelona, his first leader album, in 1969. He had been discovered by the Japanese jazz giant Sadao Watanabe, and had been a member of Watanabe's group for over a year. Masuo, and the fresh, new kind of jazz – sometimes referred to as "pop jazz" – was immensely popular at the time.
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top.
This is one of the more obscure J.J. Johnson LPs. On six of the ten songs, the great trombonist is joined by four others, while the remaining four tracks (the main reasons to search for this album) feature him in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Walter Perkins. Johnson's writing on the larger group pieces lifts the material, which is all taken from Broadway shows, while his playing on the quartet tracks is up to his usual level.