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Album Review

Johnny Griffin had already been living in Europe for 16 years by the time of this club date with fellow expatriate Kenny Drew, along with bassist Jens Melgaard and drummer Ole Streenberg, and the hard-blowing tenor saxophonist enjoys stretching out on a set that primarily features standards. An explosive "Just Friends" opens the evening, followed by a loping and very long (but never dull) "If I Should Lose You." The Danish folk song "Hush-a-Bye," which was also a favorite of fellow tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, is heard in an arrangement that Griffin co-wrote with frequent collaborator Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen. Griffin's up-tempo "Slukefter Blues" sounds like a perfect set closer, but there's more to come with a dreamy treatment of the lovely ballad "Isfahan" and the blazing, somewhat squawking treatment of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-Ning." This well-recorded live CD will greatly appeal to hard bop fans.


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 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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