J.J. Johnson: Turnpike




J.J. Johnson (trombone)


The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Vol. 1 (EMI/Blue Note 6512)

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J.J. Johnson (trombone), Clifford Brown (trumpet), Jimmy Heath (tenor sax), John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums).

Composed by J.J. Johnson


Recorded: New York, June 22, 1953


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Apart from single-handedly inventing the modern jazz trombone and becoming its foremost exponent, being a first-rate composer and arranger, successful bandleader and consummate all-round pro, J.J. Johnson wasn't much of a musician. On this up-tempo romp written by him, J.J. flexes his phenomenal chops atop the Modern Jazz Quartet's rhythm section (including a surprisingly aggressive John Lewis) and following a leadoff star turn by 22-year-old trumpeter Clifford Brown. Nearly three years to the day after recording "Turnpike," Brownie was killed in a car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Makes you wish J.J. had titled this tune "Live Long and Prosper."

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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