A huge batch of work from the great JJ Johnson – material that includes 14 tracks recorded for Savoy as singles in the late 40s – plus the full Jay & Kai
10" album from 1954! The singles were all recorded in 1946, 1947, and 1949 – and they already mark Johnson as one of the most inventive trombonists of his generation – a player working with none of the hoke of earlier eras, and with a clean, modern sound that's almost like that of a bop trumpet at times. Players on these dates include Cecil Payne or Leo Parker on baritone sax, Bud Powell or Hank Jones on piano, Sonny Rollins on tenor, and Max Roach on drums – and titles include "Coppin The Bop", "Jay Jay", "Mad Bebop", "Jay Bird", "Boneology", "Down Vernon's Alley", "Riffette", "Yesterdays", "Audobon", "Don't Blame Me", and "Goof Square". The remaining 8 tracks on the CD are from a 1954 10" album – titled Jay & Kai
, with a lineup that's a bit different than the full Savoy album of that name. The core group here is quite unusual – as it features Johnson and Kai Winding
as twin-trombone co-leaders, plus Charles Mingus on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums – with either Billy Bauer on guitar on 4 tracks, and Wally Cirillo on piano on 4 others. The use of guitar without piano is especially inventive, and really highlights the modern inflections of the two trombonists – and titles include "Blues For Trombones", "Lament", "The Major", "Reflections", "Coop", and "Blues In Twos".