Johnny Griffin / Joe Morris Orchestra

Fly, Mister, Fly

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Nineteen at the time of the earliest recordings on this collector's LP, the great tenor Johnny Griffin is heard as the star soloist with Joe Morris's Orchestra. The band, which started out as a hot jump unit, was by 1949 more in the early R&B vein. Griffin's playing includes some honking choruses and plenty of heat during performances that both swing hard and are quite accessible. Morris was a pretty fair trumpeter himself, and among the more notable sidemen are such then-unknowns as guitarist George Freeman, pianist Elmo Hope (who plays some hot boogie-woogie), drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Percy Heath. Music made by early R&B groups such as this one has long been forgotten, but is worthy of a re-evaluation, for there are many fine jazz solos on these rare sides.