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Wallington Special Lisa Something for Lili The Things We Did Last Summer If I Had You Boo Wah Once In a While
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||Al Cohn|
Customer Reviews (2)
- "C'est Cool"Review by Big Toots
Before trombonist J.J. (actually, “J.L.” for James Louis) Johnson was winding with Kai, and tenor man, Al Cohn was suited with Zoot, the two joined forces and, with multiple ensembles supporting the pairing, recorded this neatly laid back session in 1954. The recording provides a marvelous musical snapshot of two superior artists graduating cum laude from the Bop Era and peeking into the Cool.
Johnson was actually the first trombonist to gain significance in the Bop period. The faster tempo and angular melodic structures were thought to provide a technical impasse to even superb bone men. However, Johnson’s technical abilities were developed to such a level that he could master the challenge. And, while the material presented here is no “Ko Ko” or “Cherokee,” Johnson demos that he’s got the goods and the greats. Johnson is hip to the Cool sound, even to the point of starting a solo quoting Miles’ lick from Davis’ seminal “Birth of the Cool” (“Lisa”).
Cohn, a scion of the Lester Young smooth tradition and also a graduate of Woody Herman’s Second Herd (not the “Four Brothers” iteration, as is sometimes inaccurately noted), is all aces here. His sound is that mellower, softer-edged “youthful” tone and his solo forays are developed with a logical, yet swinging adherence to lyricism. He glides through the changes with grace, never missing (“Something for Lili,” “Boo Wah”). His solo on “If I Had You” is a lecture on same. That track is one of the two highlights of the session to my ears – the other is the only ballad on the date where Cohn covers a smoky “Once in a While.”
Four of the tracks here feature a small “big band,” with Jerry Hurwitz’s Boppish trumpet, Gigi Gryce surprisingly on baritone sax, pianist Henri Renaud (who was on all cuts and might have been in deeper water here), bassist, Curley Russell and drummer, Walter Bolden. Mallet Master, Milt Jackson (pre-MJQ) joined the smaller ensemble on one superb track (an uptempoed rendition of “If I Had You”). The larger ensemble sound is arranged and delivered directly out of the “Cool School.”
J.J. and Al might have gone off with different partners after this. However, here the pair are happily Honeymooning in Paris. C’est Cool.
(Posted on 5/22/2015)
- J.J. Johnson / Al CohnReview by Simon Sez
This excellent album in the Jazz Legacy Series has Johnson and Cohn playing together in 1954 in Europe with a group that has Gigi Gryce making rare appearances on baritone. The co-leaders blend together well and swing while displaying cool laidback tones. In addition Cohn is featured sounding warm on two ballads. This music used to be rare and it is one of the rare times that J.J. Johnson and Al Cohn played together.
Simon Sez: J.J. Johnson/Al Cohn (IC7022) has laidback but swinging music from 1954 featuring the co-leaders playing very well in France.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
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