210

Fred Griffin: Intimate Strangers

By

Sign in to view read count
This album is an exceptional happening on today's jazz scene, 100%, no holds barred, roll up the rug, purely romantic recording by legitimate jazz musicians. There's no hats off to bop, post bop or to modern jazz. Think Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and the pre-bop Don Byas and throw in some vamp and blues and you will get a hint of the direction this session takes. Fred Griffin, an Air Force veteran, got a big break when his quartet won a nation wide talent contest. This led to appearances with Al Jarreau, Ron Carter and Buddy Collette. Intimate Strangers is his first release as a leader.

Griffin, of course, gets top billing on this album. But a significant amount of credit should go to his attending musicians, especially pianist John Rangel and even more especially, to Elizabeth Morton's singing. Her gentle, knowing rendition of "Corcovado" makes that song sound as if it is being played for the first time. Morton does the verse on "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most" and makes one wonder why all singers of this poem put to music don't do the same. Griffin takes out his fluttering flute and, with Ron Koybayshi's trilling piano, does the accompanying honors. Griffin then does some Ben Webster like playing (before Webster became a heavy breather) on "Everything Happens to Me" and "Autumn Leaves". The latter is one of the occasions where Griffin extends and modifies the melody line, engaging in some soulful improvisation on the theme. "You Don't Know What Love Is" with Rangel's piano comping underneath and Carl Burnett's drums coming in and out would have been perfect for a film noire sound track. Dark and haunting, it will send chills down your spine with its eerie delicacy. There's fine work by the middle register trumpet of Jerry Rush on "Never Let Me Go" and "My Foolish Heart". The pace of the latter is as slow as syrup dripping from a maple tree in April.

Griffin plays in a variety of settings, small group, larger group with brass and Latin rhythm. No matter what the venue, his tenor provides a persuasive melody line on a classic standard play list. Highly recommended.

Track Listing: You Don't Know What Love Is; Never Let Me Go; Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You (A) (B); My Foolish Heart; Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) (A) (B) (C); Autumn Leaves; Everything Happens to Me; Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most (A) (C)

Personnel: Fred Griffin - Tenor Sax/Flute; John Rangel, Ron Kobayashi (A) - Piano; Jerry Rush - Trumpet; Henry (The Skipper) Franklin (B), Jeff Littleton - Bass; Carl Burnett - Drums; Don Littleton - Congas; Elizabeth Morton (C) - Vocals

| Record Label: Carpet Cat Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "I Walk Amongst Humans" CD/LP/Track Review I Walk Amongst Humans
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Porcupine Meat" CD/LP/Track Review Porcupine Meat
by James Nadal
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities" CD/LP/Track Review S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!