J.J. Johnson

The Finest of J.J. Johnson

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It may not be the "finest" but this LP does feature one of the most popular jazz groups of the mid-'50s, the two-trombone quintet co-led by J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Both of the players (who are joined by pianist Dick Katz, Milt Hinton, or Wendell Marshall on bass, and drummer Al Harewood) had similar but generally distinctive styles. On tunes ranging from "Out of This World," "Lover," and "It's All Right with Me," to "Mad About the Boy," and even "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," the unusual band's sound consistently uplifts the themes, and the co-leaders' improvising talents keep the music from becoming merely easy listening.