In 1964, after leading his own small group and a quintet co-led by Kai Winding for more than a decade, the pioneer of modern jazz trombone marked his move from Columbia to RCA Victor with a dazzling album, brimming with beauty and growth.
J.J. wrote six amazing, highly original big band arrangements for classics by Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and George Russell as well as his own El Camino Real and then commissioned two originals each from Gary McFarland and Tom McIntosh and one from Oliver Nelson. Then he assembled the best musicians in New York driven by the rhythm section of Hank Jones, Bob Cranshaw and Grady Tate to realize the music on three consecutive days in December 1964.
From the progressive swing of Swing Spring and So What to the lyricism of "Stolen Moments" to the pure modernity of Bemsha Swing and Stratusphunk, Johnson and company often break the rules of section writing and conventional voicings with marvelous results. While J.J. is the prime soloist through the sessions, Thad Jones, Clark Terry, Jerome Richardson, Oliver Nelson and Hank Jones are also heard from to great advantage.
This CD is remixed from the original three-track master tapes with wonderful sonic results. Additionally, the two previously unissued Tom McIntosh charts (Ally and Supplication) have been added to complete the album.