Tag Archives: Gary Giddins

Blue Monday

I believe it was Gary Giddins who called Johnny Griffin “the last of the Chicago speedballs,” and as the above clip of him performing “56”¬†demonstrates, Griffin could leave most other saxophonists in the dust. But Griffin — who died last week at the age of 80 — had other cards up his sleeze. His 1961 tribute to Thelonious Monk, Lookin’ at Monk with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, showed everyone a new way to appreciate monk’s artistry, and in later years Griffin’s sound¬†mellowed like an old meerschaum. Tyros should start with Way Out, a 1958 quartet recording that showcases every angle of Griffin’s artistry, and then start exploring.

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