J.J. Johnson/ Kai Winding Trombone Octet: A Night In Tunisia


A Night In Tunisia


J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding Trombone Octet


Jay & Kai + 6 (Collectables 5677)

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J.J. Johnson (trombone), Kai Winding (trombone), Urbie Green (trombone), Eddie Bert (trombone), Jimmy Cleveland (trombone), Hank Jones (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Osie Johnson (drums), Candido Camero (congas),

Bob Alexander (trombone), Bart Varsalona (bass trombone), Tom Mitchell (bass trombone)


Composed by Dizzy Gillespie & Frank Paparelli


Recorded: New York, April 6, 1956


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

In April 1956, eight of New York's top trombonists joined an all-star rhythm section to record Jay & Kai + 6, an album that has become a must-have for any trombone lover's music library. The historic recording was an expansion of the immensely successful Jay & Kai recordings featuring J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Like the quintet recordings, Johnson and Winding take turns as featured soloists with the ensemble. Johnson is up first with his arrangement of the bebop classic "A Night In Tunisia", and he sets the bar high for the rest of the album.

Candido Camero's congas set up a trombone groove anchored by Varsalona and Mitchell's beefy bass trombones. Johnson enters a few bars later, gliding smoothly over the others with his pure, dark tone. At the bridge, Urbie Green's screaming lead precedes Johnson's recapitulation of the melody. Johnson's solo soars over his tight, hard-swinging arrangement which builds up to his final cadenza. A bright, dissonant chord caps off the exciting finish, and Johnson leaves one last improvised flourish to remind us of his status as the top dog among the bebop trombonists.

Reviewer: Alex W. Rodriguez

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