J.J. Johnsons great 1956-1957 quintet played modern jazz with authority, imagination, taste and feeling. Its leader was the trombonist of the era, much emulated and admired by his peers. The Belgian-born Jaspar, who had recently won the International Jazz Critics New Star Award on tenor, proved an ideal foil and a capable modern-mainstream tenor sax and flutist, contributing impressively on both instruments. Flanagan, a superbly swinging pianist, also made an indelible mark on the group, which was graced initially with another bop piano great, Hank Jones, while Little and Elvin Jones support throughout is admirable. It was an exhilarating band that fully displayed Johnsons well-rounded musicianship.
01. Overdrive (J.J. Johnson) (3:22)
02. Undecided (Shavers-Robin) (4:04)
03. Angel Eyes (Dennis-Brent) (3:35)
04. Tumbling Tumbleweeds (B. Nolan) (4:14)
05. Cube Steak ((J.J. Johnson) (3:41)
06. Never Let Me Go (J. Scott) (3:40)
07. Solar (Miles Davis) (5:14)
08. Chasin' The Bird (Charlie Parker) (4:40)
09. Naptown U.S.A. ((J.J. Johnson) (4:59)
10. It Might As Well Be Spring (Rodgers-Hammerstein II) (4:46)
11. Bird Song (Thad Jones) (5:36)
12. It Could Happen To You (Burke-Van Heusen) (3:46)
13. Our Love Is Here To Stay (Gershwin-Gershwin) (2:42)
14. Blue Haze (Miles Davis) (5:07)
15. I Should Care (Cahn-Stordhal-Weston) (3:54)
01. Barbados (Charlie Parker) (4:37)
02. In A Little Provincial Town (Bobby Jaspar) (4:15)
03. Cette Chose (Bobby Jaspar) (3:15)
04. Joey, Joey, Joey (Frank Loesser) (3:27)
05. Teapot ((J.J. Johnson) (5:25)
06. So Sorry Please (Bud Powell) (4:11)
07. Old Devil Moon (Harburg-Lane) (6:40)
08. Johnson introduces the members of his quintet (0:40) *
09. Bernie's Tune (B. Miller) (6:07) *
10. In A Little Provincial Town (Bobby Jaspar) (4:38) *
11. I Should Care (Cahn-Stordhal-Weston) (4:54) *
12. Angel Eyes (Dennis-Brent) (3:34) *
13. Old Devil Moon (Lane-Harburg) (6:34) *
14. My Old Flame (Coslow-Johnson) (6:01) *
15. Dailie Double ((J.J. Johnson) (5:35) *
16. Theme: Solar (Miles Davis) (0:49) *
(*) Live Bonus Tracks
CD 1 - Tracks #1-10, originally issued as "J Is For Jazz" (Columbia CL935).
CD 1 - Tracks #15, taken from "Jay and Kai" (Columbia CL973).
CD 1 - Tracks #11-14 & CD 2, #1-3 & 5-7, originally issued as "Dial JJ5" (Columbia CL1084).
CD 2 - Track #4, taken from the compilation "The Playboy Jazz All Stars" (Playboy PB 1529/30).
CD 2 - Tracks #8-16, from "Live at the Cafe Bohemia" (Fresh Sound FSRCD-143).
J.J. Johnson (trombone), Bobby Jaspar (tenor sax, flute), Hank Jones (piano on CD 1 #1-7) or Tommy Flanagan (piano on CD 1 #8-15 & CD 2), Wilbur Little (bass on CD 1 #1-3), Percy Heath (bass on CD 1 #4-15 & CD 2), Elvin Jones (drums).
On track #6 of CD 2, Johnson and Jaspar out.
CD 1 - Recorded in New York City, July 24 (#1-3), July 25 (#4-7), July 27 (#8-10), 1956 and January 29 (#11-15), 1957
CD 2 - Recorded in New York City, January 31 (#1-4), May 14 (#5-7) and Live at the Cafe Bohemia, February, 1957 (#8-16)
Original liner notes by George Avakian & Charles Edward Smith
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Hi Fi · Newly Digitally Remastered
-Live at Café Bohemia
"The J.J. Johnson Quintet is heard live during a 1957 broadcast that originated from the Cafe Bohemia in New York City. Having just ended his musical partnership with fellow trombonist Kai Winding, Johnson was now leading an exciting new group with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Wilbur Little, drummer Elvin Jones, and the tragically short-lived tenor saxophonist and flutist Bobby Jaspar. Johnson devours the rapid-fire opener, "Bernie's Tune," then Jaspar is added for his original "In a Little Provincial Town," which features his lyrical flute and some fine muted trombone by the leader. Jaspar is heard on tenor during the intricate arrangement of the bittersweet ballad "Angel Eyes." The group gets an infectious Latin groove going for "Old Devil Moon" and finishes on a blazing note with Johnson's up-tempo cooker, "Daylie Double," which he had recorded for Blue Note just two years earlier. Everyone is in top form and the sound quality is fairly good, so this fine evening of bop is highly recommended."