Thursday, August 14, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-J.J. Johnson and Al Grey

Artist:J.J. Johnson and Al Grey
Song:Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya
Album:Things Are Getting Better All the Time

This is a 1983 album recorded by two legends of the jazz trombone. J.J. Johnson is considered by many to have popularized the jazz trombone especially in his long running band with Kai Winding. Al Grey is best known for his days with Count Basie. Johnson once played in the Basie band back in the 40s. But by the 70s, Johnson turned to Los Angeles studio work because he didn't want to move to Europe like many jazz musicians did just to get regular gigs. Johnson scored films like Across 110th Street, Cleopatra Jones and Willie Dynamite and for TV series like Starsky and Hutch and The Six Million Dollar Man. So he didn't tour much and he rarely recorded. Meanwhile, Al Grey finished his third stint with the Basie band in 1977 and went on the road with Jimmy Forrest. In 1983, Johnson recorded the album Jackson, Johnson, Brown and Company with Milt Jackson and Ray Brown. Then he recorded We'll Be Together Again with Joe Pass for Pablo Records. Brown asked Johnson if he had ever worked with Al Grey. Johnson thought that was a great idea. Brown played bass and produced Things Are Getting Better All Time. Other musicians were Kenny Barron on piano and Mickey Roker on drums. Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya is a traditional gospel song that was recorded in the 60s by Junior Mance. The album is available on CD and is recommended especially to jazz trombone fans. Johnson toured and recorded more frequently in the 80s until his wife got sick. But he returned in the 90s and worked a lot with trombonist Steve Turre. He died on Feb. 4, 2001 at age 77. Grey was active in the 90s until his death until his death in 2000. This album is the only time these giants of jazz worked together. Here's a video for Doncha Hear Me Callin' To Ya by J.J. Johnson and Al Grey.

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