“Little Giant” was his nickname and he sure lived up to it! Johnny Griffin was the real thing but somehow is left out in jazzy musical conversations concerning any sort of comparison with other great tenor saxophonists. He always kept a strong loyalty to Charlie Parker as his bebop style of improvising is ever present in all his work. This album is a perfect example, as he challenges John Coltrane, Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan to a wailing contest, outstanding! This album is known as Volume 2 but is by no means, the continuation Volume 1, they are both the same session that took place on April 6, 1957. Vol. 1 was recorded and released that same year and Vol. 2 was remastered and released in 1999, with the edition of an alternate take to the forth and final song “Smoke Stack.” “A Blowin’ Session” is another no-brainer classic recording that every jazz enthusiast should own. Oh, by the way, the other musicians in this monumental jam session are Art Blakey on the drums, Paul Chambers on the bass and Wynton Kelly on the piano! Can you beat that? Enjoy!
About the album:
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on April 6, 1957. Originally released on Blue Note (1559). This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. This early date for saxophonist Johnny Griffin is one of his best. In addition to Griffin’s renowned skill and speed on the tenor sax–which is evident throughout 1957’s A BLOWING SESSION–the personnel here comprises an almost unbelievable all-star lineup. With Art Blakey’s hard-swinging thunder on the drums, Paul Chambers holding down delicate-yet-complex bass lines, and Wynton Kelly’s bluesy touch on the piano, the rhythm section is simply unbeatable. Add to this young firebrand Lee Morgan on trumpet, and the triple saxophone threat of Griffin, Hank Mobley, and John Coltrane, and you have one of the most talented bands of the hard-bop era. These musicians existed in the same general orbit–all had played with groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, or Blakey himself….Read More
Review from Al Campbell (Allmusic.com)
A Blowin’ Session is one of the greatest hard bop jam sessions ever recorded; it is filled with infectious passion and camaraderie. It’s also the only time tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and John Coltrane would play together on record. Initially Coltrane wasn’t scheduled to be on this date, but Griffin saw him on his way to Rudy Van Gelder’s studio and asked him to join the remaining musicians, third tenor Hank Mobley, trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Blakey. These musicians were all associates within the same East Coast hard bop scene of the time; they came from the Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ quintet….Learn More
Biography of Johnny Griffin:
ohnny Arnold Griffin III (saxophonist) was born on April 24, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois and passed away on July 25, 2008 in Mauprevoir, France.
Griffin studied music at DuSable High School in Chicago under Walter Dyett, starting out on clarinet before moving on to oboe and then alto sax. While still at high school at age 15, Griffin was playing with T-Bone Walker in a band led by Walker’s brother.
Alto saxophone was still his instrument of choice when he joined Lionel Hampton’s big band three days after his high school graduation, but Hampton encouraged him to take up the tenor, playing alongside Arnett Cobb. He first appeared on a Los Angeles recording with Hampton’s band in 1945 at age 17.
By mid-1947, Griffin and fellow Hampton band member Joe Morris had formed a sextet made up of local musicians, including George Freeman,where he remained for the next two years. His playing can be heard on various early Rhythm and Blues recordings for Atlantic Records. By 1951 Griffin was playing baritone saxophone in an R&B sextet led by former bandmate Arnett Cobb……Read More