J.J. Johnson: Misterioso




J.J. Johnson (trombone)


The Trombone Master (Columbia CK 44443)

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J.J. Johnson (trombone), Nat Adderley (trumpet), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Wilbur Little (bass), Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, February 19, 1958


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

The Trombone Master is a fitting title for a record by J.J. Johnson, who has yet to be succeeded as the indubitable king of post-swing era trombone. Itís also a great starting place for those unfamiliar with his career as it features music from four sessions spanning 1957-1960. Monkís "Misterioso" is the highlight. After duetting on the melody with Johnson, cornetist Nat Adderley catapults into a brilliant solo packed tightly with blistering double-timed runs and chunky blues licks all laid out with his familial swagger. Heís an Adderley, after all — you know he can most certainly blow the blues.

As implied by the album title, Johnson had his instrument mastered. Possessing a rich, buttery tone and complete technical command in all registers, he never flubbed a note and was astoundingly comfortable on the awkward trombone at all tempos. His immaculate phrasing was arguably his greatest asset, as evidenced in these four meticulously constructed choruses. Johnsonís solo is precise and logical, developing like a short story with each successive phrase building on the previous statement, answering its question, finishing its thought. This is jazz trombone at its finest.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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