Canadian saxophonist and composer Johnny Griffith is a multi-JUNO Award nominee and leads a vibrant quintet of first-call musicians on their debut recording entitled Dance With The Lady
, comprised of nine stellar originals in the contemporary jazz mold exhibiting influences from the great Joe Henderson
, Kenny Wheeler
, Andrew Hill
and Anton VonWebern
among others. Grounded in a strong jazz tradition, the music seems to flow from a post-bop to a modern main stream direction encompassing a good share of creative personal statements, tasteful rhythms and a good measure of lively hard-driving grooves.
Griffith, who appears on both the alto and tenor saxophones throughout, is an unselfish leader allowing his band mates much personal space resulting in many creative and diverse solos from the group. The Toronto-based saxophonist assembles an exciting rhythm section of fellow Canadians which include pianist Adrean Farrugia
, immediately showing his chops on the keys in the opening piece "The Zissou Predicament" and bassist Jon Maharaj
, who's solo performance on the track "Bass Interlude," says it all. The last local member of the group is drummer Ethan Ardelli
who shines on such pieces as the title tune, the opening track, "The Mile Walk," and others.
One cast member hails from the U.S. and that is New York-based trumpeter and jazz luminary Jeremy Pelt
who plays both the muted and regular horn with equal passion, obviously occupies a prominent role on this recording by being a sort of "Ying" to Griffiths "Yang" as the horn duo lob solo salvos at each other throughout the session. The highlights on this recording are plenty beginning with the swinging opener "The Zissou Predicament," the following "Princess Aura Goes To Phrygia," "The Mile Walk," the title track and others.
Saxophonist Johnny Griffith demonstrates here why he is one of the premier jazz players in Canada and the world, playing the instrument with energy and sophistication on Dance With The Lady
, the first of hopefully, many more solid musical statements from this group, very well done
The Zissou Predicament; Princess Aura Goes To Phrygia; Syrah; The Kuleshascope; Bass Interlude; The Mile Walk; Dance With The Lady; Cinders; That Night.. (Under The Bench) So Long Ago.
Johnny Griffith: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Jeremy Pelt: trumpet; Adrean Farrugia: piano; Jon Maharaj: bass; Ethan Ardelli: drums.