Recent listening, current

Thursday, January 17, 2013

07. Johnny Griffin / Johnny Griffin (1958)

This very early Johnny Griffin disc has me under its spell. Griffin imparts the music with a distinctive, bluesy swing that stands out among other luminary reedmen, a serious, down-to-earth style that speaks equally to the heart and gut. His roots in Chicago R&B are prominently displayed in the bouncing "Lollypop" and tough swing of "Satin Wrap," but a gentle finesse with the ballad is displayed in "These Foolish Things," a modly oldie that, surprisingly, does not sound one bit worse for the wear. Throughout the proceedings, Little Giant articulates his affection for musical fireworks by executing blazing runs with superhuman acuity, and fleshes out his phrasing with vibrant splashes of harmonic color. Junior Mance supports on the piano with blocks of chords and twinkling right hand forays, while Wilbur Ware (who gets a spot in "Riff-Raff") and Buddy Smith keep the whole thing afloat, rhythmically. Dear Verve, please put this CD back in print.

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