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Customer Review

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Griffin at his Best, July 13, 2005
This review is from: Misterioso (Audio CD)
I won't review this CD as a whole since many others have already. But in all these reviews I note scant mention of Johnny Griffin. In this live session from that now defunct little hole-in-the-wall, the Five Spot, Grif shows why he is considered the 'fastest tenor alive.' He's also the most passionate. His solos on this session are consistently amazing in their dexterity, imagination, and sheer emotional charge. He often moans ecstatically as he blows flourish after flourish of blue fire, yet never takes himself too seriously. He truly GETS Thelonious: the wry twinkle of Monkish humor. The second cut, 'Blues Five Spot,' is one of the greatest tenor solos of all time (See my Listmania, "Great Tenor Sax Solos.") Astonishing speed and melodic invention with the trio are followed by an un-accompanied cadenza of clean blues logic, topped off by the theme from Popeye the Sailor Man. Sonny Rollins was more magisterial and conscious of his greatness when he played with Monk; Trane was more esoteric and, well, heavy; but no one played Monk with more understanding than Johnny Griffin: they were friends for life. Grif knew the secret of Monk. The Master wasn't avant garde and he wasn't heavy: he was funky, blue, and full of laughter. Despite the primitive quality of the recording, and the idiots at the bar who keep dropping their glasses, this sizzling July evening in 1958, in the hippest of New York bars, at the heart of a by-gone era, is captured for all time here in one of the GREAT live jazz recordings.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 28, 2008 11:55:23 AM PST
My sentiments exactly. Did you hear his CD with Martial Solal?

Posted on Sep 13, 2008 4:40:16 PM PDT
I had the incredible good fortune to be living in New York at the time, and saw this band at the Five Spot several times. The music was like a drug - particularly something about The Little Giant, who would take you on these incredible journeys. Or,I suppose, trips. Re album cover: De Chirico an inspired choice. Lord, how I miss the tactile joy of albums! Another one - not sure if ever recorded - early Steve Lacy with Monk. Someone else who got it.

Posted on Feb 11, 2011 2:38:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2011 2:39:50 PM PST
B. Matthews says:
Agree with what everyone says about Griff (see my review of "In Action" with Monk and Johnny together). I have been trying to find the rare import of Griffin and Bud Powell, just the two of them. O.M.G. Heard it once and was blown away. Been searching ever since.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 7, 2014 5:11:06 AM PDT
Your comment made me curious, so I looked, and I think I found the record you're looking for: It's called "Hot House: Bud Powell Recorded Live in Edenville, and I found a Japanese Import CD of it for $25 on eBay.

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 11:40:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 26, 2014 11:42:02 PM PDT
B. Matthews says:
". . . [Monk] wasn't avant garde and he wasn't heavy: he was funky, blue, and full of laughter."

You get Monk too!
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Location: Steilacoom, WA USA

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