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Artist Profiles

Chris Griffin: the Last of Goodman's Biting Brass

By Published: January 5, 2005

Baranger then introduced the next song, a surprise for Griffin. She had commissioned an arrangement of a solo feature Griffin recorded almost fifty years ago with the George Siravo orchestra called, "Isn't It Romantic." She called out "Happy birthday, Sweetheart!" to Griffin and counted off the band.

Then, for the first time in his long life, Chris Griffin—who has spent almost seventy years answering question about his more famous former section mates—watched someone recreate one of his solos. It was a beautiful piece, a classic trumpet ballad that moved through all the registers to build to a dramatic highpoint; clearly a technical workout and evidence of what a trumpet player Griffin had been.

Griffin sat transfixed throughout. It was a curious and moving moment, an expression of love and admiration from one trumpeter to another. When it was over Griffin blew Baranger a kiss and she smiled down on him from the stage and everybody clapped—a lot. Griffin tried to speak but was overcome with emotion. He took off his glasses and dried his eyes with a napkin. "It's one of the highpoints of my life," he finally said.

Visit Chris Griffin on the web.

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