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Paper Topic:

J. J. Johnsons Jazz Career


Beginnings : the 1940s

A native of Indianapolis , Indiana , J . J . Johnson (January 22 , 1924 - February 4 , 2001 ) was one of the most prominent and finest trombonists arrangers , and composers in jazz history . By developing a technique with characteristic flawless precision , deceptive ease , and speed he showed that it was possible to translate the harmonic and rhythmic innovations of bebop music into terms of the slide trombone . He remained unchallenged in this art throughout his jazz career and has exerted a powerful influence on past

and present jazz musicians around the world Several of Johnson 's works , such as Enigma , Lament , or Wee Dot are considered by many critics as jazz standards ( J . J . Johnson

Before Johnson decided to take up trombone at the age of fourteen , he had studied the piano for several years . His professional career began in 1941 when he started to play first with Clarence Love 's band and then with Snookum Russell 's band in 1942 . Between 1942 and 1945 Johnson played in Benny Carter 's orchestra . During this period , he recorded his first solo in 1943 and played in the historic first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert that was held in Los Angeles in 1944 . A year later he joined Count Basie 's band with whom he toured and recorded for several months ( J . J . Johnson Smith A Golden Month For J . J Johnson - December 1947

After that there was a period of free-lancing with Dizzy Gillespie famous bebop co-inventor , and Woody Herman , as well as with several other bebop units . He was also elected the New Star for 1946 by Esquire 's board of musicians and critics and became an acknowledged star in jazz circles both in America and abroad ( J . J . Johnson Smith A Golden Month For J . J . Johnson - December 1947

During 1947 , Johnson worked with Illinois Jacquet and made his first sessions as a leader . He manipulated the slide trombone with such extraordinary accuracy that many people who had not seen him live believed he was playing a valve and not a slide trombone . His first session and the

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recordings Coppin ' The Bop and Jay Jay made an incredible influence on other trombonists of the time ( J . J . Johnson Smith A Golden Month For J . J . Johnson - December 1947

He also took part in the famous Charlie Parker Dial Records session as a sideman in 1947 . Parker believed that Johnson was , without a doubt , the best trombonist of bebop music of all times . The fact that he included Johnson in this session indicates that at that time the young trombonist was accepted by jazz circles as a mature player ( J . J . Johnson

During the 1940s , J . J . Johnson evolved successfully from a fast-rising sideman to a bebop-oriented trombone soloist . Bebop music as a jazz style differed in many ways from the early forms of jazz . Bebop melodies were characterized by more complex chords , quicker tempos and a highly virtuosic solo performance . For this...

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