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Chain Reaction: The Yokohama Concert, Volume 2 by J.J. Johnson and Nat Adderly

J.J. Johnson and Nat Adderly are certainly household names in the world of modern jazz. Both musicians have established reputations as great soloists and bandleaders. Johnson, the foremost bebop trombonist of his time, may also be one of the greatest jazz trombonists ever. Nat Adderly firmly established himself in the late 1950’s and 1960’s co-leading a quintet with his brother Julian "Cannonball" Adderly. In light of both of them recently passing (Adderly in 2000 and Johnson in 2001) another recorded icon of their live performances is perhaps welcome.

Chain Reaction: Yokohama Concert, Vol. 2 is a serving of eight "leftovers" from a 1977 concert tour of Japan not already released by Pablo Records on the 1997 CD Yokohama Concert. The recording has a very 1970’s sound perhaps symbolized by Billy Child’s use (or perhaps over use) of the electric piano and other electronic effects, and a nod to some "funkier" sounding tunes like Dave Grusin’s "Modaji," and Joe Sample’s "Chain Reaction." The performance also keeps with the straight ahead with jazz standards like Dizzy Gillespie’s "Blue ‘N’ Boogie," "Walkin," made famous by Miles Davis, Johnson’s own "Mohawk" and an arrangement of the theme song "Suicide is Painless" from the popular motion picture and television series M.A.S.H.

When the music buying consumer confronts a release of material recorded many years ago and learns that it was not initially selected for an earlier release, one wonders why this material and why now and not earlier. There are some standout tunes on the CD. Of particular note to this listener was the performance of "Walkin." Also the tune "Colors" allows pianist Childs to open up all alone on an interesting acoustic piano solo. Chain Reaction: Yokohama Concert, Vol. 2 is however, not a particularly standout recording overall. The recording itself may have value only in that it is of historically significant personnel, and the timeframe of the recording as an example of modern jazz in the mid to late 1970’s also may fill a listener’s curiosity. The recording will likely also be an indispensable addition to the fans of J.J. Johnson or Nat Adderly. General listeners seeking some long lost gems by recently lost jazz artists of note however may find themselves caught a little short.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: J.J. Johnson and Nat Adderly
  • CD Title: Chain Reaction: The Yokohama Concert, Volume 2
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Pablo Records
  • Rating: Two Stars
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