PERFORMER: Johnny Griffin Quartet plus three; Johnny Griffin (ts); Dave Bargeron (tuba); John Clark (f hrn); Steve Turre (trmb); Michael Weiss (p); Peter Washington (bass); Kenny Washington (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 512 604-2
Most people expect an exhilarating display from the ‘get outta my way’ school of tenor playing when they go to see this spitfire of hard bop. But recent discs reveal a different side to the rumbustious American. Contrary to its title, this release is a pretty cool affair. The characteristic Griffin gruffness is exchanged for blueness; the bluster is tempered by a mellow stretching out.
Tidily arranged by Weiss, Griffin’s own unfussy and relaxed tunes are made more comfortable by a warm, pocket brass section that holds the quartet down. Turre’s vocalised pixie section, which holds the leader, can still drive ideas out of the horn faster than most, but this disc provides an opportunity to savour the little man’s vibrato and composition without getting out of breath. Garry Booth