Johnny Griffin - Live at Ronnie Scott’s (4 stars)

Johnny Griffin - Live at Ronnie Scott’s

(In+Out Records)


This live recording from the Soho club last May proved to be the swansong for the hard-hitting American tenor man, and if the octogenarian was no longer at his peak, he more than holds his own in some very fast company, including American trumpeter Roy Hargrove – stealing the show at times – and the mighty Billy Cobham on drums, not to mention Scottish pianist David Newton in typically inventive mood.

Griffin’s hard blowing, strongly swinging blues-rooted approach is perfectly encapsulated in Lester Young’s ‘Lester Leaps In’, Clifford Brown’s ‘The Blues Walk’ and his own ‘The JAMFS are Coming’, interspersed with a couple of ballads. German guest Paul Kuhn’s vocal outing on ‘How Deep is the Ocean’ is less than essential, but otherwise this is a very enjoyable farewell from one of the great names of postwar jazz.

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