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J.J. Johnson|First Place (Expanded)

First Place (Expanded)

J.J. Johnson

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Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top. The band was so good -- and loaded with material -- that a second album, Blue Trombone, was issued from the extended session. Included here are many initial takes omitted from the original vinyl album. Bop is their thing, and Johnson's flawless lines on his trombone were never more in evidence than on this stupendous effort. From the original album, tracks like "It's Only a Paper Moon," Johnson's compositions "Commutation" with Flanagan's hefty lead-out, the fast and loose "Be My Love" or "Nickels & Dimes" are all prime examples of the band's prowess. The Sonny Rollins-penned "Paul's Pal" is conversely patient and bluesy, "For Heaven's Sake" is pristine under Flanagan's confluence, and the exceptional version of "Cry Me a River" is infused with a light tango foundation before getting down to swinging. Of the additional material, "I've Got You Under My Skin" is another tasty bop vehicle, while "Out of My Dreams" is dainty, and the angelic Flanagan again shines on "God Bless the Child." With Mingus, percussionist Sabu Martinez, pianist Wynton Kelly, and drummer Kenny Clarke, Johnson's approach is more that of a teammate than as a leader. Mingus' thick, sinewy basslines penetrate the flying "Jay," dig deep into the easy swinger "Time After Time" and "Too Marvelous for Words," and go back to bop for the percolating "Coffee Pot." It's unfortunate that these groupings would never re-form afterwards, but as a time capsule, Johnson's smaller ensemble dates have stood the test of time as perhaps his best ever -- which is debatable, considering all his fine work, but First Place is indisputably brilliant.

© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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First Place (Expanded)

J.J. Johnson

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1
It's Only a Paper Moon
00:05:01

H. ARLEN, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums - B. Rose, Composer, Lyricist - E.Y. Harbourg, Composer, Lyricist

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Paul's Pal
00:04:04

Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - S. Rollins, Composer, Lyricist - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
For Heaven's Sake
00:03:02

D. Meyer, Composer - S. Edwards, Composer - In Research, Producer - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums - Bretton, Composer

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Commutation
00:05:15

Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Composer, Lyricist, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Harvey's House
00:02:59

Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Composer, Lyricist, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
That Tired Routine Called Love
00:05:12

M. Dennis, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Be My Love
00:03:00

N. Brodszky, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - S. Cahn, Composer, Lyricist - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Cry Me a River
00:05:51

Mike Berniker, Producer - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - A. HAMILTON, Composer - Max Roach, Drums - BERNIK, A&R Coordinator - HEROT, A&R Coordinator

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Nickels and Dimes
00:04:54

Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Composer, Lyricist, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally released 1957. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
I've Got You Under My Skin
00:03:27

C. Porter, Composer, Lyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally recorded 1957 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Out of My Dreams
00:02:19

Richard Rodgers, Composer - Oscar Hammerstein II , Lyricist - Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - Max Roach, Drums

Originally recorded 1957 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
God Bless the Child
00:03:03

Paul Chambers, Bass - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Flanagan, Piano - A. Herzog Jr., Composer, Lyricist - Max Roach, Drums - B. Holiday, Composer, Lyricist

Originally recorded 1957 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

13
Old Devil Moon
00:03:53

Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass - E. Y. Harburg, Composer, Lyricist - B. LANE, Composer, Lyricist - Sabu, Congas

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

14
Jay
00:03:42

Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Composer, Lyricist, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass - Sabu, Congas

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

15
Time After Time
00:04:13

Jule Styne, Composer, Lyricist - Sammy Cahn, Composer, Lyricist - Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

16
Too Marvellous for Words
00:03:36

Johnny Mercer, Composer, Lyricist - Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass - Richard Whiting, Composer, Lyricist - Sabu, Congas

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

17
It's You or No One
00:04:06

Jule Styne, Composer, Lyricist - Sammy Cahn, Composer, Lyricist - Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

18
Coffee Pot
00:04:08

Wynton Kelly, Piano - Kenny Clarke, Drums - J.J. Johnson, Composer, Lyricist, Trombone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Mingus, Bass - Sabu, Congas

Originally recorded 1954 & released 2010. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Resenha do Álbum

Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top. The band was so good -- and loaded with material -- that a second album, Blue Trombone, was issued from the extended session. Included here are many initial takes omitted from the original vinyl album. Bop is their thing, and Johnson's flawless lines on his trombone were never more in evidence than on this stupendous effort. From the original album, tracks like "It's Only a Paper Moon," Johnson's compositions "Commutation" with Flanagan's hefty lead-out, the fast and loose "Be My Love" or "Nickels & Dimes" are all prime examples of the band's prowess. The Sonny Rollins-penned "Paul's Pal" is conversely patient and bluesy, "For Heaven's Sake" is pristine under Flanagan's confluence, and the exceptional version of "Cry Me a River" is infused with a light tango foundation before getting down to swinging. Of the additional material, "I've Got You Under My Skin" is another tasty bop vehicle, while "Out of My Dreams" is dainty, and the angelic Flanagan again shines on "God Bless the Child." With Mingus, percussionist Sabu Martinez, pianist Wynton Kelly, and drummer Kenny Clarke, Johnson's approach is more that of a teammate than as a leader. Mingus' thick, sinewy basslines penetrate the flying "Jay," dig deep into the easy swinger "Time After Time" and "Too Marvelous for Words," and go back to bop for the percolating "Coffee Pot." It's unfortunate that these groupings would never re-form afterwards, but as a time capsule, Johnson's smaller ensemble dates have stood the test of time as perhaps his best ever -- which is debatable, considering all his fine work, but First Place is indisputably brilliant.

© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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