Enigma – J.J. Johnson
A classic composition with a soaring, unforgettable melody. Our lead sheet comes from the original J.J. Johnson manuscript and presents it just how he envisioned the piece.
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- Recording: Miles Davis - Miles Davis Volume 2
- Recorded on: April 20, 1953
- Label: Blue Note (BN CDP 7-81502-2)
- Concert Key: C
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Ballad
- Trumpet - Miles Davis
- Trombone - J.J. Johnson
- Tenor Sax - Jimmy Heath
- Piano - Gil Coggins
- Bass - Percy Heath
- Drums - Art Blakey
As background, J.J. originally wrote Enigma in C concert, a key with a bright sound. However, his first arrangement was for a Miles Davis recording, where the melody was in D-flat, sounding darker and more subdued.
We don't have a recording of Enigma in C concert. Our audio excerpt is from J.J.'s sextet arrangement for Miles. It starts with J.J.'s four-measure intro which, ingeniously, comes from the first four measures of the C (concert) bridge. The melody enters immediately after in D-flat concert.
For J.J.'s classic Miles Davis sextet arrangement, see our Second Floor Music Enigma sextet. That arrangement adds a double-time-feel extension at the end of the second and last A sections which other artists have also used in their recordings. You now have the option to experience Enigma from two important perspectives, the original lead sheet on jazzleadsheets.com and J.J.'s marvelous arrangement.
January 22, 1924 – February 4, 2001
J.J. Johnson is arguably the most influential bop and post-swing trombonist and also one of the great composers and arrangers in jazz. He was one of the first trombonists to embrace bebop; his playing continues to exert a strong influence on other musicians. He started his recording career in 1942 in Benny Carter's big band. On July 2, 1944, J.J was on the first Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. He recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra beginning in 1945. Read more...