J.J. Johnson, along with Bennie Green, was a founding father of bop trombone; Willie Dennis's promising career was cut short by an early death; "Jay and Kai" had successfully collaborated on several projects in the Fifties. But the unique and legendary meeting of these trombone giants, which first appeared on the Debut label and is reissued here, was unprecedented in jazz. Almost as remarkable is the rhythm section on this CD, with John Lewis making a rare appearance outside the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Kai Chresten Winding (May 18, 1922–May 6, 1983) was a popular Danish born American trombonist and jazz composer. He is well known for a successful collaboration with fellow trombonist J. J. Johnson.
As a rule, record companies don't give artists the chance to pick the songs when a boxed set is assembled. They might ask the person who writes the liner notes to interview the artist, or they might even have the artist write the liner notes. But the label, not the artist, usually chooses the material. Self Portrait is an exception; when this five-CD, 95-track boxed set was assembled in 2001, a 91-year-old Artie Shaw was given a rare chance to make the selections himself and comment on them. And for those who are seriously into the clarinetist, it is fascinating to see what he chooses. Self Portrait, which spans 1936-1954, contains most of his essential swing, era hits, including "Stardust," "Begin the Beguine," "Frenesi," and his ominous signature tune, "Nightmare."