J.J.! is considered to be J.J. Johnson's first big-band album, at least as a leader, although the classic bop trombonist had worked earlier with the orchestras of Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. Six of the arrangements are by Johnson with the remainder by Oliver Nelson and Gary McFarland. Although there are brief spots along the way for pianist Hank Jones, flügelhornist Clark Terry, and flutist Jerome Richardson, Johnson's trombone is the dominant voice on every selection. The music is solidly played if not overly memorable, modern forward-looking mainstream jazz that features Johnson in excellent form.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow