JJ Johnson


jjjohnson 2Arguably the greatest bebop/hard bop trombonist post 1945, J.J. Johnson’s work defied both musicians’ and the public’s perception that the slide trombone could not keep up in modern jazz (bebop). Gifted as a composer and arranger Johnson had a long career as both a performer, bandleader, and composer.

JJ Johnson - Episode 1

On this show I play recordings of 4 important trombonists that influenced him as well as some of Johnson’s earliest recordings.
CompositionArtistYear
A Night in TunisiaJJ and Kai1956
I'm Getting SentimentalTommy Dorsey Orchestracirca 1936
LoverJack Teagarden (air check) w/Louis Armstrongcirca 1950
My Gal SalFred Beckett---Harlan Leonard Rockets1940
Fan ItBill Harris/Woody Herman1946
Lester LeapsNorman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic1944
I Mean YouColeman Hawkins Esquire All-Stars1946

JJ Johnson - Episode 2

By the late 1940’s J.J. was the preeminent trombonist in modern jazz. He recorded numerous times with his own group and a variety of others, including Charlie Parker and Miles Davis’s Nonet (Royal Roost Band). He also began to compose original material for his recordings.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
How Deep is the OceanCharlie ParkerDial Sessions1947
Jay JayJ.J. JohnsonJazz Quintets1948
BoneologyJ.J. JohnsonJazz Quintets1948
DeceptionMiles DavisBirth of the Cool1949
TurnpikeJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson v11953
Walkin'Miles Davis All StarsWalkin'1954

JJ Johnson - Episode 3

The recordings from this podcast comprise some of his some of his finest work from 1954 through 1957. In 1954 Johnson formed a group with trombonist Kai Winding: the "Jay and Kai Quintet." The trombone styles and personalities of the two musicians, although very different, blended so well that the group was a huge success both musically and commercially.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
It's All Right With MeJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay and Kai1954
LamentJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay and Kai1954
Coffee PotJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson V. 21955
Old Devil MoonJ.J. JohnsonThe Eminent JJ Johnson V. 21955
Night In TunisiaJ.J. Johnson/Kai WindingJay & Kai+6/J.J. in Person1956
Billie’s BounceStan Getz & J.J.At The Opera House [Live]1957
Wail MarchSonny RollinsVol. 21957

JJ Johnson - Episode 4

J.J. Johnson was also an important composer who wrote a number of works in the late 1950s that fall into a category referred to as 3rd Stream. You can hear the influence of many 20th century orchestral composers blended with jazz in these recordings. They are often overlooked works, but are rich in color, harmony, texture, and improvisation. In the late 1960s and early 1970s J.J. tried to break into television and motion picture sound scoring and enjoyed moderate success.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Poem for BrassJ.J. JohnsonThe Birth of the 3rd Stream1956
El Camino RealJ.J. JohnsonThe Brass Orchestra1996
AquariusJ.J. JohnsonJ.J. Inc.1960

Clifford Brown


Brown 6Born in Wilmington Delaware in 1930, Clifford Brown was possibly the most influential jazz trumpeter of his generation. His life was cut short in an auto accident in 1956 when he was 26 years old. Even with such a short career his legacy is huge and he left a large body of recorded work starting in the early 1950’s until the day before his tragic death. He possessed great technique, a beautiful big sound, and was a great admirer of both Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro.

Clifford Brown - Episode 1

CompositionArtistAlbumYear
Blues WalkClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
AnthropologyFats Navarro and Tadd Dameron1948
Get HappyClifford Brown and J.J. JohnsonThe Eminent Jay Jay vol. 11953
What Is This Thing Called LoveClifford Brown and the Max Roach QuintetAt Basic St.1956

Clifford Brown - Episode 2

In 1953 Clifford was a member of the Lionel Hampton Big Band that toured France, Denmark, Italy, and Sweden. While on the tour Clifford had ample opportunities to record with small groups comprised of local musicians and members of the Hampton Band. Hampton forbade his musicians from making these bootleg recordings, but many of the recordings have become classics. Brown and Max Roach spent much of 1954 and 1955 in Los Angeles making some of the Quintet’s best known recordings. In 1954 Clifford made a series of recordings with some west coast musicians including Zoot Sims. Here was the quintessential east coast hard bop trumpeter recording with west coast cool players! The results were outstanding. One of the trademarks of the Brown/Roach Quintet were the cleverly constructed introductions used on many of their recordings including “Take the A Train,” “Cherokee, “and Parisian Thoroughfare.”
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
S'cuse the BluesClifford BrownComplete Clifford Brown in Sweden1953
Blueberry HillClifford BrownClifford Brown Jazz Immortal1954
Joy SpringClifford BrownClifford Brown Jazz Immortal1954
CherokeeClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Parisian ThoroughfareClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet1954
Joy SpringClifford BrownBrownie's Eyes1954

Clifford Brown - Episode 3

One Clifford’s most memorable albums was a collaboration with composer/arranger Neal Hefti on Clifford Brown with Strings. Here one can get the full impact of Clifford’s beautiful sound and great sense of phrasing. The quintet recordings set a standard for many years as the quintessential hard bop group. His playing set the groundwork for the next generation of trumpet players including Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, and Booker Little.
CompositionArtistAlbumYear
If I Love AgainClifford BrownStudy in Brown1955
Memories of YouClifford BrownClifford Brown with Strings1955
StardustClifford BrownClifford Brown with Strings1955
I'll Remember AprilClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin St.1956
DahoudClifford BrownClifford Brown and Max Roach Quintet1954