One of the all-time great tenor saxophonists, Johnny Griffin will go down in the annals of jazz as a performer easily able to negotiate the tricky harmonic changes and swift tempos of modern music. He'll also be remembered as a player who could masterfully interpret tender ballads, rivaling Ben Webster in that regard.
Born John Arnold Griffin III in Chicago, Illinois, on April 24, 1928, he resided on the South Side of the Second City with his mother, who was a singer, and father, who played cornet. An adolescent Griffin heard Gene Ammons play in the big band of King Kolax. Two years later he picked up an alto saxophone, and soon thereafter was working with bluesman T-Bone Walker. A student at DuSable High School, he was tutored by the legendary band director Captain Walter Dyett. Upon graduation, he toured with Lionel Hampton's big band, switched to the tenor sax, and moved to New...Read more