The Little Giant
Performer: Johnny Griffin
Artist: Blue Mitchell; Julian Priester; Wynton Kelly; Sam Jones; Albert "Tootie" Heath
Engineer: Jack Higgins...
Producer: Orrin Keepnews...
Notes: Johnny Griffin Sextet: Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Julian Priester (trombone); Wynton Kelly (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums). Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York in August 1959. Originally released on Riverside (1149). Includes liner notes by Orrin Keepnews. Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1995, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). Johnny Griffin Sextet: Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Julian Priester (trombone); Wynton Kelly (piano); Sam Jones (bass); Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums). Recorded in August 1959. Digitally remastered by JVC using XRCD (extended resolution compact disc). Personnel: Johnny Griffin (saxophone, tenor saxophone); Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Julian Priester (trombone); Wynton Kelly (piano); Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums). Audio Remasterer: Kirk Felton. Liner Note Author: Orrin Keepnews. Recording information: Reeves Sound Studios, New York, NY (08/04/1959-08/05/1959). Photographer: Lawrence Shustak. Unknown Contributor Role: Johnny Griffin. This double LP, which includes highlights from four of tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin's Riverside sets, has been largely superseded by the CD revolution. Three of the four albums (Johnny Griffin Sextet, Way Out, and The Little Giant, but not The Kerry Dancers) have since been reissued in full on CD. This was a fine sampler for the period, featuring Griffin in trios and quintets with the likes of trumpeters Donald Byrd and Blue Mitchell, trombonist Julian Priester, baritonist Pepper Adams, and pianists Kenny Drew, Wynton Kelly and Barry Harris, but get the complete CDs instead. ~ Scott Yanow
A physically small man with a big horn, Johnny Griffin arrived in New York City from Chicago in the 1940s, playing his tenor fast, loud, and with great exuberance in the blues-bop realm. He rightfully earned his nickname, "The Little Giant." His beautifully primal runs were featured in classic blowing sessions with John Coltrane and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. It was not until much later in his career that the tender balladeer within was revealed. Playing passionately right up to his 80th birthday, the saxophonist finally drifted into the night in Paris in 2008.
Blakey, Art Chambers, Paul Christlieb, Pete Davis, Eddie "Lockjaw" (Tenor) Freeman, Von Getz, Stan (Sax) Golson, Benny Gordon, Dexter Jacquet, Illinois Johnson, Budd Kelly, Wynton Kirk, Rahsaan Roland Marcus, Steve Mobley, Hank Monk, Thelonious Phillips, Flip Powell, Bud Priester, Julian Shorter, Wayne Stitt, Sonny Tate, Buddy Thompson, Lucky
Ammons, Gene Byas, Don Coltrane, John Hawkins, Coleman Parker, Charlie (Sax) Webster, Ben Young, Lester (Saxophone)