Thursday, February 27, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson

Artist:Stan Getz And J.J. Johnson
Song:Blues In The Closet
Album:At The Opera House

Most jazz fans should be familiar with legendary sax player Stan Getz and trombonist J.J. Johnson. This 1957 album was a spinoff of Verve Records owner Norman Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic concert series and features Oscar Peterson's trio. Getz was living in Europe in the mid-50s and he was signed to Verve. He was frequently a guest artist at JATP concerts. J.J. Johnson is one of the all time greats of jazz trombone and a bebop innovator. He started out playing in big bands led by Benny Carter and Count Basie. Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie both encouraged Johnson to be more adventurous. He first started recording as a leader in the late 40s. But his most notable recordings were in 1954 when Savoy Records producer Ozzie Cadena put Johnson together with trombonist Kai Winding. They were very successful. When that ended in 1956, Johnson started touring with JATP. And that led to Stan Getz And J.J. Johnson At The Opera House. The first four songs including Blues In The Closet were recorded at The Opera House in Chicago Sept. 29, 1957. And the rest were recorded at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Oct. 7, 1957. The band is pianist Oscar Peterson's trio with Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass. The drummer is Connie Kay of Modern Jazz Quartet. The song Blues In The Closet was written by legendary bassist Oscar Pettiford. The album has been released on CD with a bonus track. It's an alternate take of Blues In The Closet. It's a must for jazz fans. Afterwards, Getz returned to Europe. He moved back to the US in 1961 and helped popularize Brazilian music. Johnson got interested in jazz composition and eventually went to Hollywood to work in films. I think it's the only time these two jazz legends recorded together though they may have played in the same band in the 40s. Here's a video for Blues In The Closet by Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson.

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