Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oh, dem bones

Listening to XM Radio's channel 70 this morning, when hostess Rhonda Hamilton played some J.J. Johnson and talked about Johnson's key role in making the trombone a vital instrument in jazz.
Johnson's virtuosity on his chosen instrument enabled him to hold the stage with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He died in 2001, and left a legacy that still echoes.
I hadn't really considered the trombone much before college, when our professor of jazz was a trombone player. After listening to him -- and checking out some of the recordings available -- I regretted my fateful decision in the third grade to not play the trombone in the school band.
Now, I can honestly say bones are a favorite. While there are many great players today, and many greats from the past, it seems the trombone is still not as commonly heard as trumpets and saxes.
But I can really dig the deep, full sound of trombones, and when in the right hands, I don't think anything swings like a trombone can. Check out J.J Johnson or Kai Winding ... Roswell Rudd ... Clifton Anderson ...Wycliffe Gordon ... ahh, there are too many!

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