Full performer name: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis/Johnny Griffin.
2 LPs on 1 CD: BLUES UP AND DOWN (1961)/GRIFF & LOCK (1961).
Includes liner notes by Joe Goldberg and Ira Gitler.
Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (2000, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
BLUES UP AND DOWN:
Personnel: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Lloyd Mayers (piano); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums).
Producers: Orrin Keepnews, Ray Fowler.
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York, New York on June 5 and August 17, 1961. Originally released on Jazzland (60).
GRIFF & LOCK:
Personnel: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Junior Mance (piano); Larry Gales (bass); Ben Riley (drums).
Producer: Orrin Keepnews.
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York, New York on November 4 & 10, 1960. Originally released on Jazzland (42).
Like hip-hoppers, bebop musicians can be incredibly competitive. When rappers get together in a club and engage in microphone battles, it becomes a form of musical sportsmanship -- and the same can be said about bop competitions. In the 1940s and 1950s, bop was famous for its saxophone battles. Dexter Gordon versus Wardell Gray, Sonny Stitt versus Gene Ammons, Phil Woods versus Gene Quill, Zoot Sims versus Al Cohn -- those were only some of the friendly tenor or alto battles that took place back then. The term "saxophone battle" was also used to describe the relationship of Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin, who co-led a two-tenor quintet from 1960-1962. But the big-toned saxmen didn't see their relationship as a battle or a cutting contest; they liked to think of it as an exchange of ideas. However you describe their relationship, they complement each other beautifully on Blues Up and Down. Released in late 2000, this hard bop reissue combines two sessions on a single CD: 1960's Griff & Lock and 1961's Blues Up and Down. The hard boppers enjoy a strong rapport throughout the disc, which contains Davis and Griffin originals as well as spirited, hot-blooded versions of Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait," James Moody's "Last Train From Overbrook," and Richard Carpenter's "Walkin'." Employing Junior Mance or Lloyd Mayers on piano, Larry Gales on bass, and Ben Riley on drums, Davis and Griffin don't perform any ballads -- instead, they keep things exuberant on this excellent reissue. ~ Alex Henderson