Indianapolis-born trombonist/composer J. J. Johnson virtually reinvented the trombone for the purposes of postwar jazz.  A perfectionist in the realm of music and a man utterly dedicated to making the trombone do what he wanted, Johnson evolved a level of expertise previously undreamed of in jazz, his smooth delivery of the most complex passages amazing his peers.  Johnson was also the man to bring bebop harmonic and rhythmic practice to the instrument.
Johnson began trombone in his early teens, and by his late teens was playing in territory bands, meeting Fats Navarro on the way, before playing with Benny Carter’s band from 1942 to 1945.  Recordings of his style in this period show him to be evolving his later style but retaining large portions of the effusive swing trombone approach as favored by Trummy Young.  After a stint with Basie during 1945-46, Johnson began working in small groups on New York’s 52nd St, revealing his evolved style among the boppers who were now his favored company.  Johnson was kept busy in such circles, but by the early 1950’s he was struggling for work and for a time dropped out of the music business.  A 1954 idea for a twin-trombone-fronted small group paired Johnson with fellow bopper Kai Winding and proved unexpectedly successful, the band becoming a top draw across the US and selling thousands of records worldwide.  In this period Johnson’s composition, “Lament,” appeared on the “Miles Ahead” {album}, while “Poem for Brass” was recorded by Gunther Schuller and Dimitri Metropolis in 1956.  Other works continued to be commissioned, notably for Dizzy Gillespie, who took a lead role in the recording of the orchestral “Perceptions” in the early 1960’s.
By the mid-1960’s Johnson had formed his own group again and was making small group recordings revealing a new aggression and expansiveness in his approach as demonstrated by the modal pieces on “Proof Positive.”  He moved to the west coast in the 1970’s, working for the next 15 years in the studios there as a highly respected film and soundtrack composer. Johnson kept his trombone lip, however, regularly touring and recording to a consistently high standard before retiring in late 1996.  Later, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and tragically committed suicide in 2001.
The above taken from: “The Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues” by Keith Shadwick
For an excellent example of Johnson’s technique, go to You Tube:
Some of the J. J. Johnson CD’s in the Maneiri collection:
          The eminent J. J. Johnson (Vols. 1 & 2)
          Birth of the Cool


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