J.J. Johnson

Nuf Said

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At times sounding indistinguishable soloing side by side, trombonists Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson gained unexpected fame from a series of collaborative efforts cut during the mid-'50s. Sandwiched between their initial Savoy outing and several Columbia releases (and a later reunion session for Impulse), 1955's Nuf Said features the soloists in a buoyant West Coast mood on several medium- to fast-tempo swingers. Winding and Johnson both turn in fluid, tonally rounded statements, while pianist Dick Katz, bassists Milt Hinton and Wendell Marshall, and drummer Al Harewood (using brushes most of the time) provide plush rhythmic support. In addition to impressively arranged covers like "Mad About the Boy" and "Out of This World," Johnson and Winding each contribute two attractive originals -­ Winding's "Gong Rock" gets special note not only for its then-exotic incorporation of gong sounds, but also for the title's evocation of a time-travel meeting between the trombonist and glam rocker T. Rex. Musical fantasy aside, this Bethlehem reissue by Avenue Jazz pads the original set with seven worthwhile alternate takes and tops things off with superb sound and helpful liner notes. And though some might find the music here a bit thin (a common criticism of the West Coast sound which, ironically, gets turned on its ear this time around since all the musicians involved are from the East Coast), the arrangements and playing are so engaging and of such high quality that categorization dilemmas disappear. A fine disc.

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