by Johnny GriffinJohnny Griffin




When Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis entered a New York studio with producer Orrin Keepnews on May 3, 1962, they did some things that were unusual for the two-tenor team. They played mostly ballads, they didn't engage in any tenor battles and -- most surprising of all -- they didn't perform together on any of the tunes. Griffin was featured on four songs, Davis on another four. The same rhythm section -- Horace Parlan, bassist Buddy Catlett and drummer Art Taylor -- was always present, but Parlan played piano on the songs featuring Griffin and celeste on the songs featuring Davis. For whatever reason, the performances remained in the can for 42 years; they weren't even mastered until 1966, and they finally saw the light of day when Fantasy released Pisces in 2004. Pisces begs the following question: why, in God's name, would two saxmen who had as strong a rapport as Griffin and Davis not perform together when they were in the studio at the same time? Emphasizing ballads was an excellent idea, but wouldn't it have made more sense for them to do it as co-leaders of a quintet? According to jazz critic Larry Hollis -- who wrote Pisces' informative liner notes -- Griffin and Davis' decision to play separately had to do with the fact that they "didn't want to be stereotyped as merely a two-tenor team." In any event, both saxmen are in good form on this CD, which is enjoyable whether the soloist is Griffin on "Willow Weep for Me" and Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" or Davis on "Midnight Sun" and "Yesterdays." For Griffin and Davis, deciding to play separately on May 3, 1962 was probably a mistake; even so, Pisces is a noteworthy (if less than essential) album that shouldn't have gone unreleased for so long.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/26/2004
Label: Ojc
UPC: 0025218710428
catalogNumber: 1104
Rank: 86228

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Griffin   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Horace Parlan   Piano,Celeste
Buddy Catlett   Bass
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis   Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

Johnny Griffin   Composer
Lionel Hampton   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Vernon Duke   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Sonny Burke   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Jamie Putnam   Art Direction
Ann Ronell   Composer
Richard A. Whiting   Composer
Neil Moret (Chas. N. Daniels)   Composer
Stuart Kremsky   Producer

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