James “JJ” Johnson and Kai Winding formed the Jay and Kai Quintet in 1954 at the request of producer Ozzie Cadena. Their musical styles blended very well and the group enjoyed great commercial success. They recorded several albums and toured the US and Europe. Even though the two men had very different personalities, they got a long well. The group parted ways in 1956 after both men felt they had explored their
musical partnership to its fullest. They reunited several times and remained friends until Winding’s death in 1983. Johnson died in 2001.
I only found one video of the pair on You Tube. It’s from a 1982 Japanese jazz festival. The song is “It’s Alright With Me.”
Anyone who glanced at my small but proud dating portfolio would probably come to the conclusion that my taste in men is pretty eclectic. I must admit though that even I never really understood the heartthrob appeal of Jimmy JJ Walker in the mid 70’s. Every girl I knew had a crush on him. I met him once at the airport in 1977. He shook my hand and thanked me for watching “Good Times.” I always thought the encounter was rather wasted on me. But retelling it did make me the most popular girl in my 5th grade class for weeks!