This isnít just a tribute to the late trombone great J.J. Johnson, who died in 2001. Itís six current trombonists offering an outstanding homage and reworking of the material from an innovator on his instrument in much the same way that Dizzy Gillespie or Bud Powell were on theirs. Here, a íbone battalion led by the accomplished Johnson disciple Steve Turre and including Robin Eubanks, Steve Davis, and even the New York Philharmonicís Joe Alessi smoothly shifts gears through eight Johnson compositions and three other cuts.
Several of the players spent time with Art Blakey, and a number of tunes, including the oft-recorded blues "Wee Dot" and the aptly named "Overdrive," display the explosive creativity associated with the Blakey sound, thanks in part to a fire-breathing rhythm section of Victor Lewis on drums, Peter Washington on bass, and Stephen Scott on piano. Johnsonís more reflective side is well-represented, especially on a majestic arrangement (by absent trombone champ Slide Hampton) of perhaps his best-known tune, "Lament." Turre, who has worked with everyone from Blakey and Tito Puente to Santana and Ray Charles, has not taken a wrong turn in several recent releases as a leader, and he does Johnson proud here.