But What Slide Lubricant, Champ?

A long time ago, in that great and expansive past history of the slide trombone, at least two things were foretold:

  1. The trombone (sackbut, serpenty-slide, etc.,) will be made into something called a “video game” featuring a trombonist with a giant head. This game will be played even by people who do not play the trombone, and lo, even by people who have no real interest in playing a real trombone. Even further lo, this game shall sound much weirder than a real trombone, with slide accuracy that shall have real trombonists everywhere shaking their heads, not in a good way, even though hitting slide positions is apparently part of the whole point of the game.
  2. Trombonists will, well into the future, get together and talk about which slide oil, lubricant, etc., really works the best (on real trombones).

You’re holding it wrong, dude.

The first prophecy was always going to be a little tricky, and frankly it seemed like a long shot, but here we are. Welcome to the future! It’s just starting now. The second? Easy. Fulfilled for years. The problem, of course, is that no one will ever be able to really decide which slide lube works the best. Oh sure — people will get close. Here in the technical vastness of the future, many say the best is Yamaha Slide Lubricant, which in the more immediate past was known as Yamaha Slide Oil. Some “swear by” Slide-O-Mix, or “Rapid Comfort.” But when it comes to slide action, will there ever be any real comfort?


Jack Teagarden Documentary

The documentary has been on YouTube since late 2021, and recounts the story of one the most universally revered and beloved jazz musicians, Jack Teagarden. Importantly, this documentary work on Big Tea — now so easily and freely available — would absolutely not exist without the work of the late Joe Showler*, the Canadian record collector who exhaustively documented nearly every day of Teagarden’s career.

Related links here at Commander Trombone:

**In the middle 90s, when I was working on a master’s thesis paper on Jack Teagarden, Joe Showler was of extremely kind (and indispensable) help.

J.J. Johnson’s Broadway Express

Over at Jazz Wax Marc Myers has a nice write-up on the J.J. Johnson recording, Broadway Express from 1965. As Myers notes, the sessions took place in December of 65′ and involved differing personnel. Broadway Express was sort of a non-jazz date with jazz musicians, but the arrangements, by guitarist Mundell Lowe, are fantastic. Also, don’t miss Chuck Israels comments in this post (you’ll need to scroll a bit) about another of Johnson’s forays into show tune material from a few years earlier, titled J.J.’s Broadway. It featured five trombones (J.J., Urbie Green, Lou McGarrity, Dick Hixon, and Paul Faulise), plus rhythm section.

From Broadway Express, here’s Johnson performing Lowe’s arrangement of Once in a Lifetime, from Stop the World I Want to Get Off on December 13, 1965:

It’s J.J. Johnson’s Birthday, 2018

It’s J.J. Johnson’s Birthday! This is from J.J. Inc, one of my very favorite recordings from this fantastic musician, who left us in 2001. J.J. Inc was recorded in August 1960 for Columbia Records, NYC, and released on April 10, 1961. The other personnel include Clifford Jordon, Tenor Sax, Arthur Harper, Bass, Albert Heath, Drums, Cedar Walton piano, and a young and fiery Freddie Hubbard on trumpet.

Here’s Mowhawk from the album: