It’s the birthday of one of the great voices of jazz music, J.J. Johnson. Of the slide instrument, J.J. — often referred to as the father of modern jazz trombone — once quipped, “It’s a horrible, beastly to play, especially to play jazz on.” Well? You could never really tell that when J.J. played. His handling of the trombone always projected a relaxed calm, and the musical results speak for themselves.
In 1960, for Jazz at the Philharmonic, here’s J.J. playing with Stan Getz and band: Victor Feldman piano, Sam Jones, bass, Louis Hayes, drums. The location is the Salle Pleyel in Paris, France. The musical vehicle is Sweet Georgia Brown, a tune whose changes J.J. was evidently fond of improvising on. He recorded it more than once as a harmonic basis for tunes he composed like Sweet Georgia Gillespie and Tea Pot. Speaking of composing, the fact that J.J. was an inventive composer showed in all of his musical expressions.
Out of musicians I get to perform with on a regular basis, one of the most special is fellow trombonist Larry McCabe. He probably wouldn’t object to being called, first and foremost, a wailer of the blues on the slide instrument. But, it’s important to note that while the blues informs almost everything he plays, there’s a lot more to Larry’s musical sensibilities than the blues alone. Just one of those sensibilities involves a love for the music of his Irish ancestors. So, it isn’t too surprising that his latest set of recordings is titled Irish American. The other influences? Well, I’d just check the music out.
I’ve been using it since summer last, and Yamaha Slide Oil does a fine job of lubricating my trombone slide. But — no doubt like many people — I sometimes get concerned about the possible toxicity of substances I use on a regular basis. This slide “oil” (actually a soapy-looking concoction), works great, but what’s in it? I couldn’t find the information on the internet, even on Yamaha’s own website. They did have a web form for inquiries, so I wrote in:
My question is about Yamaha Slide Oil — is it possible to list its ingredients? I’m interested in the oil’s relative toxicity to humans. Thanks, Chris
In a while, I received an email from a helpful product manager at Yamaha. He included a fairly standard Material Data Safety Sheet. To cut right to the chase, Yamaha Slide Oil doesn’t contain anything that is an eye, skin, or inhalation irritant. Although practically non-toxic, Yamaha Slide Oil should not be ingested because doing so could give you abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Insert you own TV dinner and/or Hot Pockets joke here.