The Night Beat – Jazz Trombonists
Join host Doug Crane on Wednesday evenings throughout April for recordings by many of the finest jazz trombonists ever to grace a concert stage or studio.
First up and to coincide with International Trombone Week for 2022, Doug will feature a very obscure album by trombonists J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding entitled “Stonebone.”
Recorded for Creed Taylor in September of 1969, it was briefly available in Japan many years ago. Its first US release was limited to a small batch of LPs as part of a Record Store Day promotion in late 2020, more than 50 years after it was recorded.
There’s been much speculation as to why this album was never released at the time. The most plausible is that Creed Taylor, the owner of CTI, was ending his distribution arrangement with Herb Alpert’s A&M label to strike out on his own as an independent label. A couple of the last recordings slated for release on A&M/CTI were among the first albums released on the new CTI label including Hubert Laws’ “Crying Song”.
There’s more record company minutiae we could bore you with but if you’re reading this, you’re probably more interested in the music.
Johnson and Winding released a number of two trombone dates for Columbia Records in the 1950s. They were reunited in the late 1960s by Creed Taylor for the albums “Israel” and “Betwixt & Between.” It’s fair to say these albums were intended for an audience that did not exist. While the principals played great, only a few tracks ventured into the world of improvisational jazz. Many of the tracks were nothing more than covers of pop tunes of the day.
“Stonebone” was decidedly different. It could be considered a template for what CTI and its KUDU affiliate were soon to become. The tracks were much longer (6 to 14 minutes versus 3 to 5 minutes on the earlier albums) and featured much more improvisation.
While the supporting cast of musicians had appeared on a number of A&M/CTI releases, some were to become the foundation of the newly independent CTI label including George Benson, Bob James and Ron Carter.
Tune in on Wednesday, April 6, beginning at 8 pm for tracks from the J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding album “Stonebone,” only on KUVO JAZZ.
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