Grab This!

by: Johnny Griffin

Grab This! finds tenor Johnny Griffin in a soul-jazz mood, which is greatly aided by the organ of Paul Bryant. They are joined by guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Jimmy Bond, and drummer Doug Sides for nice workouts on several originals and a couple of standards. The band seems confident and relaxed throughout this recording, injecting everything it touches with a healthy dose of the blues. Griffin's tone is rich and full throughout, but is most striking on Ellington and Russell's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and the self-penned original "Grab This!" Bryant has been given special guest status, and his style is perfectly matched with Griffin's. He also wrote the wonderful "Offering Time," a slow blues piece with a strong groove. While Pass' role here is more supportive, he turns in several fine solos, as on "63rd Street Theme" and "Offering Time." What is perhaps most striking about Pass' role here is his versatility: he appears as comfortable playing soul-jazz as he would playing hard bop or swing. Bond and Sides supply the steady rhythm needed to keep this soul-jazz moving along. It's amazing that five guys were able to get together and cut this album for Riverside in one day during the summer of 1962. Like Carmell Jones, Griffin moved to Europe in the '60s, lowering his profile in the United States. Grab This! is a fine album, and serves as a reminder of Griffin's lovely tenor sound. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

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