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J.J. Johnson: J.J. Johnson’s Last Concert

There are no frills, no flashy stuff and no gratuitous “reaction” shots of the audience on this DVD; just a straight-ahead presentation of straightahead acoustic jazz by a grand master and his serenely proficient ensemble. What’s left to say?

To be sure, not enough has been said about the autumnal bloom of J.J. Johnson that some date to his early-1980s reemergence from his years of honest toil in Hollywood studios. The performance captured here at the William Paterson University was emblematic of Johnson’s small-group performances in the years before his death in 2001. As was usual in those years, he had a crisply functioning support team: pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Rufus Reid, tenor saxophonist Dan Faulk and drummer Bruce Cox.

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