Recent listening, current

Monday, August 5, 2013

121. Johnny Griffin, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley / A Blowin' Session (1957)

Blue Note's A Blowin' Session featuring Little Giant, Trane, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Art Blakey sounds exactly as you'd think it would. It's technically a Griffin date, who is leader, composer, and one third of the groups's tenor sax nucleus. But Morgan gets plenty of time, and so do Kelly and Blakey, for that matter as if Blakey's hard to miss. The meeting was a pickup after the Chicago-based Griffin found himself in New York at the same time as the others. With so many good players, it's a jazz buffet. The septet shows its talent in tracks like "The Way You Look Tonight," or the swinging ensemble groove of "Ball Bearing." As two horns who played with Miles Davis so close together, listening to Trane in opposition to Mobley is interesting (see Prestige's Two Tenors or Tenor Conclave for more of Trane and Mobley together). Morgan's licks on "Smoke Stack" set the pace for the rest of the group, though Coltrane feels overburdened, it's still my favorite cut on the album. Thankfully, there is an alternate take on the Blue Note CD that offers him a second chance as well as a wild good performance from Griffin. Why they issued the original take instead of this one remains a mystery to me, unless for the outstanding work by Morgan. As a note, this album also marks th eonly ecorded meeting between Griffin and Coltrane.

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