This 1956 quartet session includes the stellar Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Max Roach on the drums. This album was tenor sax phenom Johnny Griffin's Blue Note debut and the man called the Little Giant doesn't disappoint.
The album begins with a Griffin original, "Mil Dew", taken at breakneck speed with flurries of twisting notes. I don't think I've ever heard a sax player pack as many notes into a phrase as Griffin, yet he manages to remain melodic without seeming like he's showing off, and each passage seems effortless. My favorite track is "Chicago Calling", another Griffin original that Joe Segal refers to as the title track of the session in his original liner notes. (No mention there or in the liner notes for the RVG edition as to why this was changed.) The piece is loose and bluesy, with a rainfall-like Wynton Kelly solo bookended by pulsing Griffin tenor solos. "These Foolish Things" and "The Boy Next Door" are both solid pieces, followed by another cool Griffin-penned piece, "Nice and Easy". The group then tackles Cole Porter's "It's Alright With Me" and the jazz favorite "Lover Man" which closed out the original album. The RVG edition adds two bonus tracks: "The Way You Look Tonight" and a blistering version of "Cherokee" guaranteed to knock your socks off.
Some of Wynton Kelly's finest work can be heard on this album as he ably keeps pace with Griffin, while Russell and Roach serve to keep the high-flying soloists from veering too far off course. The RVG remaster seems especially excellent for this release, particularly the voicing on Kelly's piano. If Johnny Griffin's tone amd musical ability seem outstanding here in 2008, one can only imagine what someone thought after playing this in 1956. Don't miss this one!
1. Mil Dew
2. Chicago Calling
3. These Foolish Things
4. The Boy Next Door
5. Nice And Easy
6. It's All Right With Me
7. Lover Man
Johnny Griffin - Tenor Sax
Wynton Kelly - Piano
Curly Russell - Bass
Max Roach - Drums
In depth liner notes by Joe Segal.
Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded on Blue Note 1956 by Rudy Van Gelder and was catalog number BLP 1533. This is a later issue from late eighties with same catalog number 1533 and remains in new sealed condition.
Johnny Griffin had been kicking around in R&B bands for years before his Blue Note debut in 1956. A tenor saxophonist with fresh sounds, a warm, soulful style and the fastest technique in jazz, he moves from lyrical ballads to blistering tempos with ease.
The first-class accompaniment is provided by Wynton Kelly, Curly Russell and Max Roach. Within two years, Griff would becomes one of the leading tenor saxophonists in jazz as a member of Thelonious Monk's quartet.
One listen to this 1956 Blue Note recording and you'll be hooked on Johnny Griffin. This is an excellent straight-ahead blowing session from the then 28 year old Chicagoan.
Mr. Griffin is a virtuoso of the tenor saxophone who can navigate bop tunes at breakneck tempos and caress the most beautiful of ballads. The session features Max Roach, Curly Russell, and Wynton Kelly. Included is Johnny's memorable theme Chicago Calling which was later revisited on a cd issue.
Griffin is such an unsung hero here in the US. Thank God, Europe and Asia recognize his greatness. Griffin, like Charlie Rouse are two of the best tenor players that ever lived. In my honest opinion, Rouse was the best tenor player for Thelonious Monk, but Griffin has that SPEED along with creativity but never lets you forget the melody while he is flying through his solo's. So many other "great" tenor players, play solos that have nothing to do with the song. If you listen to Griffin's solo's alone, you know which songs they come from.I am not fond of a player takes a solo that has nothing to do with the song they are playing on. Griffin is GREAT. This album is GREAAT.
This album remains in sealed condition, never opened or played. Jacket is in new condition, zero edge wear, no split seams, no bar code.
Will come with clear jacket protector as well as a Mo-Fi Inner Sleeve included.
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