Three days after his high school graduation he joined Lionel Hampton’s big band playing the Alto sax and it was “Hamp” who encouraged Griff to change to the Tenor, and what a Tenor…His first album as leader came in 1956 on the Blue Note label called simply “Introducing Johnny Griffin” featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums, this recording brought Griffin critical acclaim. In 1957 he recorded another hit Blue Note album”A Blowing Session” that features him with fellow tenor players John Coltrane and Hank Mobley. This album is a Hardbop treat, not so much of a Tenor battle here as these three artist have very distinctive sounds and plenty of solo’s abide here. Bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Blakey combine for some killer rhythm, trumpet man Lee Morgan and Wynton Kelly on the Keys make up for some classic Hard Bop. Happy Birthday to one of my favorites!!
Harold Land (Feb 18, 1928– July 27, 2001) today is the birthday of the most underrated Tenor saxophonist in Jazz history. From very early in his career he ‘s played with the best, he played in The Max Roach and Clifford Brown Quintet and what a wonderful Post-Bop vehicle for his talent it was.
Harold grew up in San Diego and started playing the saxophone at 16 when he heard ‘Body And Soul”. In 1949 he recorded his first album as leader for the Savoy label, Harold Land Allstars. During a jam session at the home of Eric Dolphy, Clifford Brown heard Land play and hired him on the spot for his quintet with Max Roach replacing Teddy Edwards on the tenor. He stayed for 2 years playing some of the best in Bebop becoming quite famous in jazz circles. In 1955 Harold returned home upon hearing his grandmother was dying in L.A., What might have he became if he stayed in the New York Jazz scene we will never know. As it was he remained on the West Coast and joined The Curtis Counce Group recording with them and making his own albums as leader for the Contemporary label. In the 1970’s, he recorded a number of albums for the Concord label and in the 80’s he joined the Timeless All-Stars sextet. He returned to performing on his own more frequently and widely in the late 1990’s and even became a teacher of Jazz at the University of California in L.A.
Us 3 is a great album for your collection with George Tucker on bass and Al Harewood on drums.
He is the most accomplished, improvisational, post bop jazz saxophonist, in todays modern jazz scene.
Happy Birthday to one of my favorite tenors!!
On January 30th. in 2010, Joe Lovano will be at the Singletary Center in Lexington, Ky. tickets/info
February 18 – University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida
Horace Parlan (born January 19, 1931 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American hard bop and post-bop piano player.
Noted for his contributions to the classic Charles Mingus recordings Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots, Parlan often bridges the divide between the chordal sophistication of the bop idiom and the African-American “roots.”
This album was recorded in 1961 for Bluenote, Horace Parlan Trio was the house band at Minton’s Jazz Club at the time. He is joined by Grant Green guitar and Booker Ervin on sax. Amazon