Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes

by Johnny Griffin



Chicago has long been famous for big-toned tenor men, and when jazz enthusiasts are discussing hard bop tenor giants who have lived in the Windy City, Johnny Griffin's name inevitably comes up, along with the likes of Gene Ammons (who died of cancer in 1974), and Ira Sullivan (who also plays several other wind instruments, including alto and soprano sax, trumpet, and flugelhorn). Griffin was 71 when, in February 2000, he visited Hamburg, Germany and recorded Close Your Eyes, an album of tenor/piano duets with pianist Horace Parlan (who was 69 at the time). Neither bass nor drums are employed on this German release -- strictly sax and acoustic piano -- and this intimate setting works well for the veteran jazzmen, who enjoy a consistently strong rapport throughout the album. Clearly, neither musician has lost anything in the chops department; both are very much on top of their game. Over the years, Griffin has had no problem with the fiercely competitive, hell-bent-for-chops approach -- there's a reason why his admirers used to describe him as "the world's fastest tenor" -- but Close Your Eyes isn't about competition. It's about dialogue, intimacy, and lyricism, and Griffin's lyrical side serves him nicely on standards like "My One and Only Love," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "I Hear a Rhapsody," and Thelonious Monk's "Pannonica." Yes, many of the songs on this CD are warhorses that have been beaten to death over the years, but when the tenor in question is a 71-year-old bop survivor who has spent more than half-a-century in the trenches, one tends to be forgiving of the warhorse factor. Close Your Eyes falls short of essential, but it's a respectable, solid addition to Griffin's sizable catalog.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/16/2003
Label: Minor Music
UPC: 0033585508524
catalogNumber: 801085

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Griffin   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Horace Parlan   Piano

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Johnny Griffin   Composer,Producer
Horace Parlan   Producer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Buddy Kaye   Composer
Stephan Meyner   Producer
Thelonious Monk   Composer
Billy Reid   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Harry Warren   Composer
Jack Baker   Composer
Volker Schneider   Engineer
Joe Young   Composer
Mort Dixon   Composer
Robert Mellin   Composer
George Fragos   Composer
Guy Wood   Composer
Dick Gasparre   Composer
Harald Habets   Artwork
Jack Baker   Composer

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