The Little Giant

Johnny Griffin / Johnny Griffin Sextet

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The Little Giant Review

by Scott Yanow

A bit of an offbeat session for tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, The Little Giant features three originals by then-obscure pianist Norman Simmons, a reworking of the pop tune "Playmates," Babs Gonzalez's "Lonely One," and the tenorist's "63rd Street Theme." Simmons' arrangements for the three horns (which include trumpeter Blue Mitchell and trombonist Julian Priester) are colorful; the rhythm section (pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath) is state of the art for the period, and Griffin (who is featured in a trio with Jones and Heath on "Lonely One") is in fine form. An interesting set of obscure straight-ahead jazz.

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