White Gardenia – Johnny Griffin
A sentimental ballad written in honor of Billie Holliday that conjures her beautiful soul.
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- Recording: Johnny Griffin - White Gardenia
- Recorded on: July 17, 1961
- Label: Riverside (RLP 120387)
- Concert Key: C minor
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (slow)
- Trumpet - Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Nat Adderley
- Tenor Sax - Johnny Griffin
- French Horn - Ray Alonge
- Trombone - Jimmy Cleveland
- Trombone - Urbie Green, Paul Faulise
- Guitar - Barry Galbraith
- Piano - Jimmy Jones
- Bass - Ron Carter
- Drums - Ben Riley
- Viola - Alfred Brown, Harry Lookofsky
- Viola - David Schwartz
- Cello - Abe Kessler, Peter Makas
- Cello - Charles McCracken, Lucien Schmit
On the recording, the bridge of the melody is played by the brass. For the lead sheets, we've written out the AABA (12-12-8-12) melody so you can perform it as you hear it, with the melody intact. The six-measure recorded ending, which Johnny solos over on the recording, is included.
The year of this recording, 1961, started on January 6, with Griffin on a "Live At Minton's Playhouse" recording teamed up with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. A month later, on February 7, they recorded "Looking At Monk," and Johnny started to record his "Change Of Pace" album (Same To You). Nine days later they finished the album (Why Not?).
On March 9, Johnny recorded his Sweet Sucker on a Bennie Green date, and on June 5, he was back with Lockjaw to work on their "Blues Up And Down" album. After Griffin's Holiday tribute album was recorded, the two tenors finished their album on August 17.
Before the end of 1961, Johnny did the first session of Eddie Jefferson's "Letter From Home" album, which was completed on January 12, 1962, with Johnny's Soft and Furry, which is included in "Sing JAZZ!" (available from MusicDispatch.com. On December 21,1961, Johnny's last session of the year, his quartet recorded another one of his beautiful ballads, Oh, Now I See.
April 24, 1928 – July 25, 2008
A tenor saxophonist of amazing energy and invention, Griffin was influenced by such revered artists as Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker and Ben Webster. He was first heard prominently in his youth with Lionel Hampton's orchestra from 1945-47, making his first recording with Hamp when he was only 17 years old. In 1947, Griffin joined Joe Morris's rhythm & blues group. Morris (trumpet) had also been a recording member of Hamp's bands since 1943. He left Hamp a little before Johnny did. By 1948 the Morris band had changed personnel to include Elmo Hope (piano), Percy Heath (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums) along with Matthew Gee on trombone. Read more...