Lion, Camel & Child

Lion, Camel & Child by Johnny Griffith
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Johnny Griffith

Label: G-B Records
Released: 2018
Views: 1,167

Track Listing

1. The Lion, Camel & Child 2. Narcomedusae 3. Strawberry Qwik 4. Amarone 5. For A Derailed Painter 6. Deliciously Ambiguous 7. The Corridor 8. Last Say


Johnny Griffith

Additional Personnel / Information

Johnny Griffith - Tenor Saxophone Jeremy Pelt - Trumpet Adrean Farrugia - Piano Jon Maharaj - Bass Ethan Ardelli - Drums

Album Description

The title of the album and suite come from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Three Metamorphoses. You should know up front, this is not an in-depth analysis of one of the greatest minds in Philosophy – I came on Thus Spoke Zarathustra by way of the film A Fish Called Wanda. Kevin Kline’s character is reading Nietzsche in an attempt to impress Jamie Lee Curtis (unsuccessfully), but was “reading” it upside down. Admittedly, the first time I read Nietzche I may as well have been reading upside down too. Metamorphoses is concerned with what propels each new phase of human growth, so it seemed fitting to frame this as a suite – each track individual unto itself, yet when listened to as a whole representing the arc of the personal struggle to know more and be more. I can relate to that as a musician trying to achieve new levels of understanding that always seem to elude. The Suite: Lion, Camel and Child When I started composing, I wanted something more than philosophy to tie the movements of the suite together. I decided simple is the best and came up with a three-note phrase (based on intervals of a tone and a third) which is present either melodically or harmonically in all three of the movements. I played around with the phrase as much as I could, inverting intervals, sometimes using major or minor 2nds and 3rds, elongating the phrase or compressing it, and eventually, I had enough variations to begin writing the suite. The Camel – bears the burdens expected of it with courage and gains strength from confronting its suffering, but yearns for more than the life it has. It maintains course out of a sense of duty and becomes Emperor of its own jail. The Camel has a pensive and heavy Middle Eastern vibe and features the gifted improvising of pianist Adrean Farrugia. This movement is the first movement I composed, it is also the movement in which the three note phrase/cell I used as the basis for the entire suite is most easily identified (the ostinato figure played by bass and piano but those with keen ears will also recognize it as the basis for the melody) In this movement, the cell is comprised of a minor 2nd and a major 3rd, like the top tetrachord of harmonic minor. The Lion – is a symbol of tenacity and virtue. It breaks free of its self-imposed cage realizing the moral codes they’ve always lived by were merely constructs imagined by others. The Lion is free, but doesn’t know how to live without the cage and defines itself only in relation to it. To be completely free is to remember what freedom is for. The Lion’s freedom is frenetic and this track is a nod to the up-tempo music of the Bebop Lions – when jazz broke free of popular form and prided itself on being inventive, dynamic and appealing to the intellectual. The Child – sees life as a joyful game and thrives in the flux of this complicated existence. From the emptiness experienced by the Lion rejecting the world the Child creates new meaning. Not concerned with external approval and always moving forward in true freedom, the Child is in a perpetual state of letting go. This is the most playful track of the three. The Child is an up-tempo tune with a quirky rhythmic intervallic melody, which jumps around and moves between horns and bass/piano in parts. I intended for it to sound like kids playing, falling down, jumping up and having a ball.


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