Johnny Bothwell

What Ever Happened to Johnny Bothwell

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Johnny Bothwell's career as a recording artist was rather brief, lasting from 1942 until his abrupt retirement in early 1949. The mellow-toned alto saxophonist is heard in this compilation on a Doctor Jazz LP in three separate dates, including two big band dates featuring Boyd Raeburn and a number of veterans of his band, plus a small-group session that includes Ellington stars Ray Nance and Harry Carney, along with tenor saxophonist Allen Eager. The latter is the most interesting of the three, particularly the one original, "Dear Max," a successful riff tune featuring the three saxophonists and Nance. Most of the remaining tracks are standards, though a low-key ballad interpretation of "I'll Remember April" is rather refreshing when compared to the typically up-tempo bop renditions. The arrangements of the larger ensemble pieces are a little on the bland side, though Bothwell's solos are enjoyable. Although Bothwell is not considered a major player on his instrument, it's a shame that he didn't stick with his career a little longer, as he obviously had some talent. Last reissued in 1987, this record shouldn't be terribly hard to find, though it been out of print for quite a while.