Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis & Johnny Griffin Quintet: Tough Tenors Again 'n' Again
Backed by the rhythm section of the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band the two tenor masters reunite a decade after their Prestige recordings for a highly-spirited, tremendously swinging session, graced by some balladic excursions. "Not the most publicised, but one of the most productive" - that's how Mike Hennessey puts it in his liner notes for this CD when he comes to describe the partnership of Eddie Davis and Johnny Griffin. Their original teaming-up dates back to 1960, when they discussed the idea of forming a group at Birdland. With Norman Simmons (p), Victor Sproles (b) and Ben Savannah (dr) their first quintet (which underwent some reshuffles later) started working the very same year and would release six recordings until 1962. This is all the more astonishing as the two personalities of the "Tough Tenors" were considerably different: Eddie was said to be a conscientious man, a worker who knew about his obligations, whereas Johnny rather lived for the day and was a notorious latecomer. After that short, but most prolific period, their quintet disbanded, "Lockjaw" returned to the Count Basie Big Band for which he had been working since 1952, Griffin tried his luck in the Paris jazz scene. However, having been separated for a couple of years, another opportunity for a musical pairing of Eddie and Johnny arose at the beginning of the Seventies. Davis was playing with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band at that time and had already recorded the "Sax No End" album for SABA which was to become MPS.
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