J.J. Johnson died in 2001 at 77. One of the first trombonists to embrace bebop--if not thee first--he is to every generation since the standard-bearer of what Dinah Washington once called "that big, long, sliding thing." No one, but no one, played the 'bone like Johnson. Traversing the bridge between swing and bop, he straddled both worlds yet made his mark in each. As Steve Davis notes: "He's our Bird."