All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

221

Johnny Griffin: The Best Of Johnny Griffin

By

Sign in to view read count
If big things often come in small packages, then Johnny Griffin's case as one of the music's top "tough tenors" really need not be plead. Affectionately nicknamed "Lil' Giant" for his diminutive stature, the late saxophonist was all but diminutive came time to rip through changes and defend his title—as would a proud, prized champion—as the fastest saxophonist roaming the nightclub circuit.

An explosive soloist indeed reputed for his incendiary chops and hearty tone, many often overlook the fact that the Chicago, Illinois expatriate earned the latter part of his sobriquet from those same toughened tenorists with whom he locked horns in his younger years. Needless to say one does not earn such accolade from being a mere flash in the pan.

To commemorate his passing on July 25, 2008, Concord Records has released The Best Of Johnny Griffin, a collection of 12 remastered tracks compiled by expert Nick Phillips that comes augmented by author Ashley Khan's informative, 4-page liner notes.

Covering 20 years from his stellar Riverside quartet recordings with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Philly Joe Jones to his 1978 return to the West Coast caught on tape by Saul Zaentz's Galaxy label—by way of his noted stint with pianist Thelonious Monk's Quartet, guitarist Wes Montgomery's Full House (Riverside, 1962) and hard-swinging duels with fellow toughie Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis—the important road marks of Griffin's American career are all duly represented. As a bonus, there's some rather head-spinning soloing during Griffin and Davis' fierce blowing matches on "Tickle Toe" and "Straight, No Chaser," the latter featuring heated, head-cutting-contest tirades and trades between the two giants.

A welcome addition in both Concord and Griffin's respective discographies, The Best Of Johnny Griffin shall certainly not disappoint those who relish the thought of being blown away by some winged, fire-breathing dragon flexing his chops and loving every minute of the Sirocco-like storm it wreaks.


Track Listing: Cherokee; Woody 'n You; Rhythm-a-ning; 63rd Street Theme; Tickle Toe; Wade In The Water; Straight, No Chaser; Full House; Autumn Leaves.

Personnel: Johnny Griffin: tenor sax; Wilbur Ware: bass (1, 2); Roy Haynes: drums (3); Philly Joe Jones: drums (1, 2); Wes Montgomery: guitar (8); Thelonious Monk: piano (3); Clark Terry: trumpet (6); Bob Bryant: trumpet (6); Kenny Drew: piano (1, 2); Ahmed Abdul Malik: bass (3); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: tenor sax (5, 7); Harold Mabern: piano (6); Bob Cranshaw: bass (6); Charlie Persip: drums (6); Blue Mitchell: trumpet (4); Julian Priester: trombone (4, 6); Albert Heath: drums (4); Sam Jones: bass (4); Junior Mance: piano (5, 7); Larry Gales: bass (5, 7); Ben Riley: drums (5, 7); Wynton Kelly: piano (4, 8); Paul Chambers: bass (8); Jimmy Cobb: drums (8); Ronnie Mathews: piano (9); Ray Drummond: bass (9); Keith Copeland: drums (9); Matthew Gee: trombone (6); Pat Patrick: alto sax (6); Edwin Williams: tenor sax (6); Charlie Davis: baritone sax (6).

Title: The Best Of Johnny Griffin | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Duets" CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "A Year Ago Today" CD/LP/Track Review A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Rhapsody" CD/LP/Track Review Rhapsody
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 7, 2018