J.J. Johnson - trombone
Trombonist James Lewis "J.J." Johnson, one of the luminaries of bebop in the '40s and '50s, brought an extraordinary fluency of expression to his polished playing. He almost single-handedly obliterated the idea that the trombone belonged only to the old swing and New Orleans jazz styles, and he dispelled the notion that his instrument was less spry and articulate than the saxophone. Johnson's Blue Note album The Eminent J.J. Johnson, Vol. 1, from 1953 with young trumpeter Clifford Brown and other notables including Jimmy Heath, is widely regarded as a milestone in modern jazz.
Born Jan. 22, 1924, in Indianapolis, Johnson was performing with Count Basie and Benny Carter in the early 40s. Settling in New York, Johnson played bebop clubs and recorded with the likes of Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro, Hank Jones and Max Roach and joining combos led by Dizzy Gillespie. A high-profile partnership with trombonist Kai Winding lasted from 1954-'56, with several reunions later to come. After parting ways with Winding, Johnson fronted his own quintet or sextet for the remainder of the '50s, also doing some noteworthy sessions with Tommy Flanagan, Elvin Jones, Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson.

Johnson toured with Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt in the early '60s, but his increasing renown as a writer and arranger convinced him to live in Los Angeles after 1970. He stayed busy with films and television shows for a good number of years. In 1983, Johnson resurfaced on the international jazz scene with the release of Things Are Getting Better All The Time (Original Jazz Classics).
J.J. Died in February 2001

Recommended Recordings
The Eminent J.J. Johnson, Vol. 1  Blue Note  81505
The Eminent J.J. Johnson, Vol. 2  Blue Note 81506
The Great Kai & J.J. Impulse 225
The Trombone Master  Columbia
The Brass Orchestra  Verve
Sonny Stitt/ Bud Powell/ J.J. Johnson OJC
The Cape Verdean Blues  Blue Note
Heroes Verve
J.J. Johnson's Jazz Quintets  WEA / Savoy
Jay & Kai  WEA / Savoy
Standards: Live At The Village Vanguard  Verve
At The Opera House [LIVE]  Verve
J.J. Inc.  Columbia
Things Are Getting Better All The Time  OJC
We'll Be Together Again with Joe Pass OJC
Vivian  Concord Jazz
Proof Positive  Impulse 145
Concepts In Blue  OJC
Pinnacles  OJC
Let's Hang Out  Verve
Trombone By Three  OJC
Yokohama Concert [LIVE] with Nat Adderley Fantasy / Pablo
Yokohama Concert 2 Chain Reaction
Jay & Kay + 6 / J.J. In Person [LIVE]  Collectables Records