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J.J. Johnson/Nat Adderley: Chain Reaction

All eight, previously unreleased selections on Chain Reaction (Pablo), provide a nostalgic snapshot of J. J. Johnson and Nat Adderley during their 1977 Yokohama concert and showcases the unique timbre of trombone with trumpet or cornet. The Japanese tour followed a decade in which Johnson mainly exercised his writing chops (scoring films and TV shows in Hollywood), but you can’t tell there had been a hiatus, certainly not by his trademark attack on such tunes as Dave Grusin’s Asian-sounding “Modaji,” which features a funky chorus in which Johnson is occasionally doubled by bassist Tony Dumas. On another funky head, “Mr. Clean,” the staccato lines of Adderley and Johnson are effectively countered by Billy Childs’ electric piano, though the trombonist’s driving solo and the cornetist’s forceful answer are somewhat diluted by Kevin Johnson’s persistent back beat on the title tune.

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