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Masters of Jazz Vol. 7

Johnny Griffin

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Album Review

Johnny Griffin is heard with several different groups in this compilation of live performances collected from three separate CDs (Johnny Griffin/Art Taylor in Copenhagen, Tough Tenors Back Again!, and Catharsis!). The first three tracks come from the date with Taylor, highlighted by their explosive romp through "Wee Dot," in which bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen is barely audible and pianist Kenny Drew sits out for nearly the entire track. The overly long introduction to "A Night in Tunisia" is a tradeoff between the leader's tenor and a vocal chant, though all is well once the actual piece is underway. Two songs come from a 1984 meeting with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, in which the two tenor saxophonists are reunited for superb extended uptempo workouts of "Blues Up and Down" and "Lester Leaps In." The final three selections come from a 1989 concert, with Kenny Drew once more on hand leading a local rhythm section in Copenhagen, including a through exploration of Griffin's lively improvised "Slukefter Blues." Serious fans will want to find all three original CDs, though collectors on a budget will enjoy this compilation.

Biography

Born: April 24, 1928 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the all-time great tenor saxophonists, Johnny Griffin will go down in the annals of jazz as a performer easily able to negotiate the tricky harmonic changes and swift tempos of modern music. He'll also be remembered as a player who could...
Full Bio

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