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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)

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Judith & Dave O'Higgins: His 'n' Hers

Read "His 'n' Hers" reviewed by Chris May

Here is a great idea for a tough tenors face-off in the tradition of the Johnny Griffin / Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis group... Get hold of a tenor duo comprising a husband and wife who are on the verge of divorce and can barely stand being in the same room together and record them as they try ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jay Thomas Quartet: Upside

Read "Upside" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Seattle-based musician Jay Thomas may be considered the oddest of ducks in the jazz universe. By that, I am referring to his fierce musicality expressed both on trumpet and saxophone, as well as most members of the brass and woodwind families. Inspired early in his career by the like minded veteran Ira Sullivan, Thomas in a ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Another Set of Recent Listeners’ Favorites

Read "Another Set of Recent Listeners’ Favorites" reviewed by Marc Cohn

The number of the week is five (as in Show 435)! So, it's time for listener favorites from recent shows (421-430). WHYR, Mixcloud, Pacifica and All About Jazz messages, emails, and one-on-one (masked!) feedback in the grocery store are all considered. That would generate some five to six hours of material. So, we have to exercise ...

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Henri Texier: Chance

Read "Chance" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

French double bassist Henri Texier gained prominence back in the early 1960s, when he was working in Paris playing alongside American expatriates such as Bud Powell or Johnny Griffin. Over the years he has played with many international greats and proven a prolific composer as well as an unparalleled foundation on bass. Yet, one could argue ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

50th Anniversary Blue Notes for May

Read "50th Anniversary Blue Notes for May" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Time for 50th anniversaries of Blue Note recordings from May 1970 (logically enough!): Lonnie Smith's Live at Club Mozambique; Donald Byrd's Electric Byrd; Joe Williams' Worth Waiting For and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra (Consummation). Then there's some 21st century music (Jane Ira Bloom, Andy Hunter, Tony Kofi and Brian Bromberg), as well as previously unreleased ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Enrico Pieranunzi: Il Respiro Profondo di un racconto in musica

Read "Enrico Pieranunzi: Il Respiro Profondo di un racconto in musica" reviewed by Paolo Marra

Se come scriveva il poeta brasiliano Vinicius De Moraes “La vita è l'arte dell'incontro" allora può succedere che l'intervista con uno dei più apprezzati pianisti italiani, Enrico Pieranunzi, diventi senza una ragione evidente una lunga e piacevole conversazione per parlare della sua lunga carriera artistica scandita da altrettanti incredibili incontri che nel tempo hanno cucito i ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Saxattack & More

Read "Saxattack & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

Well, not every track is saxed, but we've got some heavyweights here: Johnny Griffin, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sonny Rollins, Branford Marsalis, Charlie Parker, Benny Carter, and Sidney Bechet. Breathers from pianists Brad Mehldau, Kris Davis and Bill Evans; as well as the Uptown Jazz Orchestra from New Orleans; trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis; and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Keith Oxman: Two Cigarettes In the Dark

Read "Two Cigarettes In the Dark" reviewed by Jack Bowers

What's a sure way to make a pretty good tenor saxophone-led quartet even better? Simple. Invite a second tenor and make sure his name is Houston Person. That's what Denver-based Keith Oxman has done to further enhance his quartet's splendid new album, Two Cigarettes in the Dark, sharing the front line with Person on six of ...


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