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Nick Finzer: Legacy


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Nick Finzer: Legacy
In the realm of jazz, the legacy of J.J. Johnson looms large and immutable, casting an indelible shadow over the trombone's narrative. It is with reverence and a touch of audacity that trombonist Nick Finzer undertakes the task of honoring this titan with his album Legacy a centennial celebration of JJ Johnson. Joined by a stellar ensemble featuring Renee Rosnes, who served as the pianist in Johnson's quintet from 1989 to 1997, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Lewis Nash, Finzer and company embark on a journey that not only pays homage but also reinvigorates the timeless essence of Johnson's music.

Of the initial five tracks, four represent a fervent dedication, as Finzer and company launch into heartfelt renditions of Johnson compositions beginning with "Say When." In this spirited number, Finzer's exposition is tirelessly inquisitive and furiously productive as he explores the composition. Rosnes' pianism has a smart uncluttered approach as she fills out the corners of the frame. Reid and Nash are solid timekeepers and fastidiously percussive. "Shortcake" moves along at an expressive and insightful pace as Finzer delivers his solo with sleek rhythmic forms. Rosnes plays with a great touch and her solo is filled with taste and insightfulness.

The most recognizable Johnson composition is "Lament," in no small part due to its inclusion on the Miles Davis 1957 album Miles Ahead (Columbia Records), the trumpeter's first recording with the Gil Evans Orchestra. However, the number was first recorded in 1955 on a J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding album entitled Jay & Kai (Columbia Records). Finzer's interpretation is one of tender introspection as he demonstrates he is a trombonist of vision and subtlety. Additionally, as the number closes out Finzer demonstrates his superb technical prowess and remarkable breath control by holding a low note unwaveringly for close to thirty seconds. The remaining Johnson chart is "Fatback" another miniature odyssey into the multifaceted artistry of Johnson's oeuvre. Rosnes' piano opens the track and sets the tone with a funky down-home tempo. Finzer picks up the vibe and extends the musical dialogue between them. This symbiotic relationship continues between Reid and Nash to show they are not just timekeepers.

Renee Rosnes adds her composition "Malaga Moon" to this celebration which has an abstract brooding texture. Finzer's exploration is filled with fluid introspection, and Rosnes' approach is offered with a fastidious purpose. The closing track is "CC" is a Finzer piece played at a jaunty tempo. Throughout the number Finzer's trombone is bright and assertive with Rosnes confirming that she is a resourceful and highly adaptable pianist. The album is a salute to tradition, innovation and the timeless magic of music.

Track Listing

Say When; Shortcake; Pennies From Heaven; Lament; Fatback; That Thing; Malaga Moon; CC.


Nick Finzer
Rufus Reid
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Legacy | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Outside in Music



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