285

Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Quintet: Tough Tenors

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Quintet: Tough Tenors The appeal of a good cutting session is similar to that of a good boxing match: we all enjoy watching two competitors locked in combat, pushing themselves to new boundaries and discovering untapped resources. Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis went so far as to establish a quintet which allowed them repeated opportunities to duke it out over a series of recording sessions and club dates.

1960's Tough Tenors is their first meeting on record, and – as one might expect – it features plenty of fire-breathing dynamics and bombast. Leaving the more complex material from the time by the wayside, Griffin and Davis make good use of popular songs from the swing era, a move which allows them to burn through solos without worrying about tricky changes. Griffin, once called the world’s fastest tenor player, is certainly well-suited to set a fearsome tempo, yet Davis, no slouch, is surprisingly fleet-fingered as well.

The quintet rips through “Tickle Toe” at a scorching pace, using far more notes than Lester Young would ever have dreamed possible. They catch their breath on the bluesy swagger of “Save Your Love For Me” before re-establishing a rapid gait on “Twins” and scarcely letting up after that. Obviously the rhythm section carries the grunt work, content to stay out of the way of the gymnastics.

The two hornmen were a terrific match; Davis’s and Griffin’s horns blend together with razor-sharp precision on the heads, yet diverge dramatically during their solos, Davis identifiable by a fluttery cascade of notes, Griffin by robust, slippery passages. Both musicians have proved their worth on several other occasions, yet the endless dazzle quickly grows tiresome and one longs for something a little more substantial than listening to these two guys lock horns. The sole ballad, “Imagination,” seems almost like an afterthought and only features Davis anyway; the last track, “Soft Winds,” allows the quintet to indulge in a more relaxed groove these players should have explored to a greater extent. Sure, these guys can play, but one longs for a little more nuance and finesse, and in the end the quintet could have worked toward a better balance between showmanship and artistry.

Visit Jazzland on the web at www.fanstasyjazz.com .


Track Listing: 1. Tickle Toe 2. Save Your Love For Me 3. Twins 4. Funky Fluke 5. Imagination 6. Soft Winds.

Personnel: Johnny Griffin - tenor saxophone; Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - tenor saxophone; Junior Mance - piano; Larry Gales - bass; Ben Riley - drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Jazzland Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Second Impression" CD/LP/Track Review Second Impression
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Do Right" CD/LP/Track Review Do Right
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Strange But Not Entirely Unattractive" CD/LP/Track Review Strange But Not Entirely Unattractive
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Voyager" CD/LP/Track Review Voyager
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!