John Gordons’ Trombone Inc. feat. Al Grey

So it goes! Right after finishing this blog post about trombonist John Gordon, I discovered that there is a clip showing more of Gordon in Otto’s archives. This one was filmed in autumn 1988 and shows Gordon with the group Trombone Incorporated, which he co-led with trombonist Fred Joiner from Philadelphia. The band’s concept was to add a “name” trombonist to get more people to listen. Among the “third” trombonists were people like Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, Lou Blackburn.

Lafayette Harris, the band’s pianist in 1988, was so nice as to send me pictures of the first Trombones Incorporated LP, No Tricks, No Gimmicks (Beam International LP T1881), where the personnel consisted of Fred Joiner, John Gordon, Benny Powell (tb) Kenny Barron (p) Leon Dorsey (b) Jimmy Ford (d) and Sam Turner (perc).

For their european concerts in autumn 1988, the third trombonist was the legendary Al Grey. Otto caught this band at the small Q4 jazz club in Rheinfelden – the exact date is unfortunately not known to me (I might find it out though).

So (after a short untitled introduction) you get the Trombones Incorporated playing John Gordon’s composition Landscape which to my knowledge has never been issued commercially.

According to Lafayette Harris jr. (check his website here) the band members on this gig were Fred Joiner, John Gordon, Al Grey (tb) Lafayette Harris jr. (p) Tyrone Brown (b) and Jimmy Ford (dr).

Lafayette also send me an invitation to a memory event in honor of John Gordon some days after his passing on November 27, 2003.

In my opinion it’s really a pity that John Gordon is not better known.

2 Responses to “John Gordons’ Trombone Inc. feat. Al Grey”

  1. Much thanks for this! I didn’t even know that this video existed!!
    My god! I was so young and skinny. I had gotten my first and only Jerri curl a few months before this!! That was a nice performance!

    I certainly miss John and Al! I learned so much on this tour, my very first out of the US after moving to NYC in 1985. In fact this was my first trip back to Europe after spending tree years there as a schoolboy when my father was in the Army and stationed in Germany!

  2. jason albala Says:

    I had the privilege of having Fred Joiner as my high school Jazz Band teacher. This was Stamford Connecticut. I don’t know how long he stayed at the school but my senior year (1991) he was the Jazz Band teacher and man was he awesome. Every day he came to school dressed like he had a performance to give, just like he is dressed in the video. Fred would tell us about playing with all the big bands…we weren’t sure if he was telling the truth or just trying to motivate us. He was extremely professional in his approach and in his demand on the students…especially the brass. I was one of two guitar players and I was competent enough to play the chords, keep time, and otherwise keep my mouth shut. Fred’s no-nonsense method weeded out the trash, and he put together a great High School jazz ensemble, at least for a year.

    I must have made some positive impression on Fred as he presented an award to me for my contribution to the Jazz band.

    If he is alive, I hope he is well.

    Jason Albala

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