Record Collector (magazine) - p.904 stars out of 5
-- "[This] compilation cherry-picks the best moments from his recordings for Riverside in the 50s and 60s."
Personnel: Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Wes Montgomery (guitar); Pat Patrick (alto saxophone); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis , Edwin Williams (tenor saxophone); Charlie Davis (baritone saxophone); Clark Terry, Bob Bryant/Marshall Dodge, Blue Mitchell (trumpet); Julian Priester, Matthew Gee (trombone); Harold Mabern, Junior Mance, Kenny Drew, Ronnie Mathews, Thelonious Monk, Wynton Kelly (piano); Jimmy Cobb , Albert "Tootie" Heath, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, Ben Riley, Keith Copeland, Charlie Persip (drums).
Liner Note Author: Ashley Kahn.
Recording information: Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA (02/??/1958-10/17/1978); Minton's Playhouse, New York, NY (02/??/1958-10/17/1978); Plaza Sound Studios, New York, NY (02/??/1958-10/17/1978); Reeves Sound Studios, New York, NY (02/??/1958-10/17/1978); The Five Spot Cafe, Nwe York City (02/??/1958-10/17/1978); Tsubo, Berkeley, CA (02/??/1958-10/17/1978).
Photographer: Jan Persson.
Arranger: Norman Simmons.
While no innovator, the late Johnny Griffin was one of the greatest post-Sonny Rollins tenor saxophone stylists. Griffin combined the big, hard-edged tone of Rollins and Dexter Gordon with the blues roots of his Chicago upbringing--the result was a distinctively agile, speedy, and assertive style. This BEST OF collects Griffin's recordings for the Riverside and Fantasy labels circa 1953-78 (leaning toward the earlier years, as he relocated to Europe in 1963). Mostly bebop standards, BEST gives a dandy sampling of his early recordings as a leader--it's some of the best straight-up hard bop extant.