J.J. Johnson: What's New
J.J. Johnson (trombone)
The Trombone Master (Columbia CK-44443)
Composed by Bob Haggart & Johnny Burke.
Recorded: New York, April 26, 1957
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Rightly renowned for his incomparable technique, J.J. Johnson is often wrongly overlooked as a balladeer. Here, using a cup mute, J.J. displays a tonal purity matched by no other jazz trombonist, and a lyricism second to none. J.J. often expressed admiration for Billie Holiday, whose haunting 1955 recording of this song may be reflected in J.J.'s own heartfelt soliloquy two years later. Johnson, though, was always his own man, and this urbane interpretation is in no way derivative. With sensitive support from a stellar cast, J.J. justifies the title of Columbia's compilation: not "A" trombone master, but The Trombone Master.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz