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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Concord Records, Inc.

The great tenor Johnny Griffin made his debut on Riverside with this sextet set which has been reissued on CD in the OJC series. Griffin is teamed with trumpeter Donald Byrd, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Philly Joe Jones for three obscure tunes, the ballad "What's New" and a cooking version of "Woody'N You." High-quality hard bop from some of the best. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Blue Note Records

The great tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin is heard in top form on this near-classic quartet set. Assisted by pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Kenny Dennis, Griffin is exuberant on "The Congregation" (which is reminiscent of Horace Silver's "The Preacher"), thoughtful on the ballads, and swinging throughout. It's recommended for bop collectors. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Verve Records

"Usually found in a quartet setting, Griffin here works with a group of horns. The album, which had jazz critics writhing in pleasure, is lade with a Blue Note-styled classicism, elegant and informed by the blues."
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Jazz - Released March 31, 2009 | Rhino Atlantic

The music seldom reaches ignition point on this undistinguished 1965 session. Co-leader Johnny Griffin has many more valuable items in his discography. While not as well-known as Griffin, the same can be said of trombonist Matthew Gee, whose resumé includes work with Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington and whose style straddles swing and bop (this was actually one of only two dates where Gee recorded as a leader). Soul Groove disappoints in several areas, including the writing that seldom surpasses head-arrangement status. Drummer Art Taylor and bassist Aaron Bell plug away purposefully, but in a mix that blunts the personalities of their playing. The co-leaders' contributions also pass in a blur. Tenor and trombone front lines can work, but here the tone of the two instruments is too similar; Griffin and Gee's solos tend to drift and smear over one another. Organist John Patton is on three tracks, pianist Hank Jones on four, and Jones, again, is on organ for one track. The presence of Jones and Patton looks promising, but the shuffling between the two and between organ and piano actually adds to the session's lack of focus. Jones has occasional moments of sparkle at the piano, but like his rhythm section colleagues, he often suffers from indifferent treatment in the mix. The best tracks end up being the three with Patton, as all hands settle in for the familiar pleasures of organ combo-style blowing. ~ Jim Todd
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released November 29, 2018 | FUZZY LEMONS ENTERTAINMENT GROUP LTD

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Jazz - Released July 6, 2015 | Blue Velvet

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Riverside

Booklet
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Riverside

Nick Phillips compiled this chronologically arranged nine-track overview of the career of "The Little Giant," Johnny Griffin, as a leader and as a sideman for the Riverside, Jazzland, Prestige, and Galaxy catalogs. The recording dates mainly range from 1958-1962, though the final track, a lovely version of "Autumn Leaves," comes from a 1978 session. There is only one original on the set, the wonderful "63rd Street Theme" from the album The Little Giant, in 1959. Other albums represented here are Way Out!, The Little Giant, Johnny Griffin Sextet, Tough Tenors, and The Tenor Scene with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Thelonious Monk's Thelonious in Action, the great Big Soul Band session from 1960, Wes Montgomery's Full House, and Return of the Griffin from 1978. The highlights of the set include the big band's version of "Wade in the Water," the blazing version of "Cherokee," and the reading of Lester Young's "Tickle Toe." Other highlights -- though non-musical ones -- are the insightful and engaging -- as well as authoritative -- liner notes by author and critic Ashley Khan. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released February 3, 2000 | MINOR MUSIC

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