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Blues for Harvey

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Album Review

Johnny Griffin is heard in a pair of dates recorded in 1972 at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, joined by fellow American expatriates Kenny Drew and Ed Thigpen, along with bassist Mads Vinding. Most of this album is devoted to Griffin's originals. His piercing, extended blues "That Party Upstairs" is followed by a somber ballad "Alone Again" (not the bland Gilbert O'Sullivan pop hit "Along Again (Naturally)," as listed in some discographies). His remake of his early composition "Soft and Furry" features Vinding's delightful arco bass in octave unison with Griffin's tenor sax. The furious uptempo "Blues for Harvey" gives way to a turbulent pair of choruses of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning." There are some exciting moments, but overall, this live record falls just a bit short of essential for hard bop fans.


Born: 24 April 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 masterfully interpret tender ballads, rivaling Ben Webster in that regard. Born John Arnold Griffin III in Chicago, Illinois, on April 24, 1928, he resided on the South Side of the Second City with his mother, who was a singer, and father, who played cornet....
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