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Album Review

A pair of small nightclubs in Wihelmshaven, Germany provided the settings for these live performances led by tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Accompanied by drummer Art Taylor, pianist Rein de Graaff, and either Koos Serierse or Henk Haverhoek on bass, Griffin is in top form. His explosive original blues, "The Jamfs Are Coming" ("JAMF" is an acronym for a well-known but unprintable expression), is a powerful opener recorded in 1977, with pulsing solos by de Graaff and Taylor as well. Following an unaccompanied coda, Griffin rapidly shifts gears into a brief up-tempo rendition of "Wee Dot," which is unfortunately faded out. The one-minute chorus of "Wee" is a complete performance that evidently closed a 1975 set. The LP wraps with an inspired take of "All the Things You Are," in which Griffin dodges the head initially then squeezes in a lick or two from "Happy Birthday" and a series of other humorous quotes throughout this frenzied 20-minute workout. Due to the evident demise of the various labels which have issued this music, it will be increasingly difficult to acquire.


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...
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