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April 24, 1928 - July 25, 2008
The "Johnny Griffin Quartet" perform live In France on August 29, 1971.
Johnny Griffin, tenor sax
Vince Benedetti, piano
Alby Cullaz, bass
Art Taylor, drums
Johnny Griffin began playing clarinet and oboe during his youth in Chicago before picking up the alto saxophone.
He began playing in a band with T-Bone Walker and his brother while he was still in high school.
Fresh out of school he was hired by the Lionel Hampton who encouraged Griffin to switch to tenor sax.
His first appearance on record came soon after with Hampton's band in Los Angeles in 1945.
In 1947 Griffin left the Hampton band to form a sextet and can be heard on various Atlantic R&B records from the late '40s and early '50s.
He became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1957, and would also be John Coltrane's successor in Thelonious Monk's "Five Spot Quartet."
He got the nickname "Little Giant" for his small stature and surprisingly big sound.
During the early 1960 he performed as co-leader of a quartet with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and recorded several albums.
Johnny Griffin moved to France in 1963, followed by his 1978 relocation to the Netherlands where he would resided for the rest of his days.
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