J.J. Johnson

Trombone for Two

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The J.J. Johnson-Kai Winding quintet became one of the more unlikely successes of the mid-'50s, recording nine albums during their two years of steady collaborations. Their first Columbia LP (there would be five) has such likable songs as "Give Me the Simple Life," "Trombone for Two," "It's Sand Man," "Let's Get Away from It All" and "This Can't Be Love." With pianist Dick Katz, bassist Paul Chambers (who would soon join Miles Davis) and drummer Osie Johnson, the focus is almost entirely on the competitive but complementary trombonists. The results are bop-based but full of surprises, tasteful but not always predictable. All of this group's albums deserve to be reissued in coherent fashion on CD; this one will be hard to find.

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