The Music of J.J. Johnson | St. Louis Public Radio

The Music of J.J. Johnson

Dec 4, 2016

Jazz Unlimited for December 4, 2016 is “The Music of J.J. Johnson.”  Trombonist J.J. Johnson was born in Indianapolis in 1922.  He began piano lessons at the age of nine and started on trombone at 14.  Initially, he played in big bands, making his recording debut with Benny Carter.  Johnson was one of the first trombonists to master the intricate and highly technical bebop musical language.  He played on the first Jazz At the Philharmonic Concert.  In the 1950’s, he and fellow trombonist Kai Winding had a very popular quintet.  He led many small groups in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  He then turned to composing and orchestration, first for big bands and other orchestras on commission and then in the 1970’s for films and television.  He went back o the road in 1983 and moved back to Indianapolis in the late 1980’s.  He retired in 1996 and died in 2001.  This show finds J.J. Johnson with the Dizzy Gillespie big band and small groups, his own big band and brass orchestra, Bud Powell, Count Basie, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Kai Winding, the Brass Ensemble of the Jazz-Classical Music Society, Charlie Parker, Sarah Vaughan, Horace Silver, his trombone octet and two Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts.

The Slide Show has my photographs of some of the artists heard on the show.

The Archive of this show will be available until the morning of December 12, 2016.

This is a rare video of Howard McGhee (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Sonny Stitt (as) Walter Bishop, Jr. (p) Tommy Potter (b) and Kenny Clarke (d) playing Charlie Parker's "Buzzy" on the 1964 BBC TV show "Jazz 625."