Johnny Griffin – Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis – Arnett Cobb – Live at Nick Vollebregt’s Jazzcafé – Laren, Holland – March 29, 1984 –
Three Tenors this weekend – no, not Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras but Johnny Griffin, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Arnett Cobb – along with Horace Parlan on piano, Jimmy Woode on Bass and Butch Miles on Drums – all captured in one place; Nick Vollebregt’s Jazzclub Café in Laren, Holland on March 29, 1984 and preserved for posterity by Radio TSRO in Hilversum as part of their Sesjun series that made its way, partly to the U.S. via various outlets.
A favorite among collectors and fans of not only Griffin, Davis and Cobb but the support team of Parlan, Woode and Miles. Agreed amongst all that this was a memorable gig for those who were there and speculation this may have been one of those rare one-offs that had the good fortune of being captured on tape.
A little about the High Priests of Reeds, ‘case ya don’t know:
Edward F. (Eddie “Lockjaw”) Davis played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Eddie Bonnemère, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie, as well as leading his own bands and making many recordings as a leader. He played in the swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Some of his recordings from the 1940s also could be classified as rhythm and blues.
His 1946 band, Eddie Davis and His Beboppers, featured Fats Navarro, Al Haig, Huey Long, Gene Ramey and Denzil Best.
In the 1950s, he was playing with Sonny Stitt, while from 1960 to 1962, he and fellow tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin led a quintet. From the mid-1960s, Davis and Griffin also performed together as part of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, along with other, mainly European, jazz musicians.
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. Griffin relocated to Paris in 1963 and then landed in the Netherlands before settling in the Côte d’Azur.
Arnett Cleophus Cobb (August 10, 1918 – March 24, 1989) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, sometimes known as the “Wild Man of the Tenor Sax” because of his uninhibited stomping style. Cobb wrote the words and music for the jazz standard “Smooth Sailing” (1951), which Ella Fitzgerald recorded for Decca on her album Lullabies of Birdland.
Now jump in and enjoy.
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