Home » Musicians » Johnny Griffin

Johnny Griffin

Since Johnny Griffin's precocious professional debut with Lionel Hampton in 1945, his best work has been guided by spontaneity. One of the fastest and least inhibited of tenor men, Griffin loves the challenges and excitement of the jam session. Back in 1963, despite the solid reputation he had established as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Thelonious Monk’s group (and as co-leader of a band with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis), Griffin felt forced to flee to Europe.

During the Sixties, Griffin was one of an elite corps of resident American jazzmen in Europe, a group that included Kenny Clarke, Arthur Taylor, Horace Parlan, Kenny Drew, and, of course, Dexter Gordon (“Dexter’s family to me,” he smiles). He had no trouble finding work there. He played in radio and television studio bands, was installed for long engagements in clubs such as the Blue Note in Paris, played in countless jazz festivals, and continued his recording career unabated. He did everything but return to the United States. And he missed it: “Europeans love jazz very much, but American audiences respond to the music in a really special way.”

Johnny Griffin’s triumphant homecoming in 1978, coming on the heels of Dexter’s, ended 15 years of exclusively expatriate life in Europe. The occasion was one of jazz’s happiest, most heartwarming events in memory. Griffin found himself playing to an entirely new generation of fans, while his older fans discovered the tenor saxophonist to be playing better than ever.

Read more

Tags

Photos

Albums

The NDR Hamburg...

Jazzline Classics
2021

buy

At Onkel Pö's...

Jazzline Records
2017

buy

Live At Ronnie Scott's

In + Out Records
2010

buy

The Best Of Johnny...

Concord Music Group
2009

buy

Johnny Griffin: From...

Storyville Records
2009

buy

Watch

Similar

Stan Getz
saxophone, tenor
Lee Konitz
saxophone, alto
Dexter Gordon
saxophone, tenor
Benny Golson
saxophone, tenor
Ben Webster
saxophone, tenor
Coleman Hawkins
saxophone, tenor
Hank Mobley
saxophone, tenor
Jackie McLean
saxophone, alto
Gene Ammons
saxophone, tenor

Shop Amazon

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.