The JPJ Quartet


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The JPJ Quartet only recorded sporadically during its six or so years of existence, though it was a solid mainstream group, equally at home in swing, standards, and classic jazz. Tenor saxophonist Budd Johnson (who doubles on soprano sax on several tracks), an artist whose legacy has been overlooked since his death in 1984, is the leader of this compilation, which adds a previously unissued studio session to a 1971 Montreux performance on this CD. Welsh pianist Dill Jones, bassist Bill Pemberton, and drummer Oliver Jackson round out the group. Johnson contributed the spirited "Tag Along," a robust tenor feature, along with the mournful "Contrast in Blue," in which he plays a blistering soprano sax solo in a classic jazz setting. Jones contributed the loping, boppish "West of the Wind" (with Johnson again on soprano). Johnson and Jackson evidently improvised the blues riff "Montreux 1971" and "Oliver's Twist" (primarily a drum showcase, while also a reworking of "Sweet Georgia Brown") for their Montreux concert. In addition to several well-played standards, the band delivers a soulful take of the pop song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," with Johnson's soprano adding a bit of character and Jones simulating raindrops with his tinkling keys at the upper end of the piano during the introduction. This is an enjoyable snapshot of a band that deserved to be better documented on record during its lifetime.

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