One would think from a provincial American perspective that Johnny Griffin and Martial Solal would have performed together numerous times, let alone having recorded frequently. After all, they're European, aren't they?
Alas, such is not the case. Griffin and Solal have performed together only two or three times. They have recorded together never. Until now. That's what makes "In & Out" an instantly classic recording, and one of the more masterfully performed of the year, no doubt.
Exhibiting a degree of comfort and intellectual fertility in a format that's truly more than a duorather, it's a dialogGriffin and Solal make up for lost time with a thorough musical discussion throughout two standards, including one of Monk's, and their own compositions. More important than making up for lost time, though, is the exposure that these two too-seldom-heard jazz masters can gain among American listeners.
Known for his incredible speed and facility on the instrument, Griffin hasn't slowed down as much as matured. He shows a confidence that implies ideas instead of ripping through them. Solal, however, reminds listeners of the uniqueness of his style, jabbing here, stride-like there and overall aggressive in his attack.
From Griffin's first lead-in on "You Stepped Out Of A Dream," the listener is assured of mastery and experience. Solal, spare and choppy in his inimitable accompaniment, alternates through stride suggestions and rapidly phrased assaults and pauses. Ironically, Griffin seems to keep the calm of the proceedings while Solal is the one who shakes things up, unpredictably going angular in his attack or dreaming up spur-of-the-moment substitutions like a reticent Tatum.
From a compositional aspect, the listener can sort out the fairly obvious differences between Griffin and Solal, in spite of their mutual comprehension of the other's experience and technique. Griffin's tunes bespeak comfort and melody and stroll and balladic form, while Solal haunts and slinks and considers and constructs leaps of intervals that another musician might never create in quite the same context.
In many ways, Griffin's tone and use of implication are reminiscent of Solal's work with Lucky Thompson in the 1950's and 1960's, while Solal's dissonance and dramatic lunges, especially of course on "Well, You Needn't," recall Griffin's tenure with Thelonious Monk in the fifties.
Too seldom recorded, Griffin and Solal have revealed their mutual interests by teaming up on "In & Out." At the same time, they have recorded a truly classic album that collectors will seek for years in the future.
You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Come With Me; In & Out; Hey Now; L'Oreille Est Hardie; When You're In My Arms; Neutralisme; Well, You Needn't
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.