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Tough Tenors Back Again!

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Album Review

During 1960-63, Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis teamed up in a two-tenor quintet, inspiring each other to play at their most intense and swinging on a nightly basis. After the band's breakup, Griffin and Davis occasionally had reunions that found them playing as heatedly as ever. This 1998 CD, which released a particularly exciting encounter at Copenhagen's Montmartre in 1984 for the first time, has what might have been their last matchup since Lockjaw passed away two years later. With pianist Harry Pickens, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Kenny Washington keeping the momentum moving, the two tough tenors battle it out on a variety of basic material, including "Blues Up and Down" (which has a colorful chorus of conversational commentary by the two tenors before their solos), "Funky Fluke" and "Lester Leaps In." Throughout the heated bebop date, Griffin and Davis are heard at the peak of their powers, and the results are quite memorable.


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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