J.J. Johnson transformed the way his instrument, the trombone, was played. He was born on January 22, 1924, in Indianapolis, IN and died in February 4, 2001, Indianapolis, IN. J.J. Johnson, with his new execution and imagination, was the musician who brought bebop into the trombone. However, after battling cancer and a muscular-skeletal disorder, J.J. Johnson passed away, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking work that he had done accomplished with the trombone.
When J.J. Johnson was 11 years old, his mother, Nina, sent him to piano lessons, and he briefly played the baritone saxophone at school. At the age of 14, J.J. Johnson’s classmates wanted to be in a band and needed a trombone player, so he took the opportunity and never looked back. Johnson and his friends were really enjoying the concept melody solos from the tenor saxophonist, Lester Young, and he was also drawn to the Trombone work of Dickie Wells. Therefore, around 1941 and 1942, J.J Johnson joined two bands called Clarence Love’s Regional Touring Band and Snookum Russell’s Band. Johnson then received a suggestion to join the band of Saxophonist Benny Carter for an extended tour, so the spring of 1945, Johnson worked with Carter’s band as a trombonist and a staff manager.
On July 2, 1944, J.J. Johnson engaged in producer Norman Granz’s first JATP concerts in Los Angeles and was able to be heard on Etaoin Shrdlu’s Blues. His association with Granz and the JAPT sustained through his career. However, not all