Friday, November 25, 2011

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis & Johnny Griffin - Battle Stations (2003)

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis & Johnny Griffin - Battle Stations (2003)
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Genre ~ Hard-Bop, Saxophone | Label ~ Prestige/OJC

When Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin joined forces and formed a two-tenor front line, bop enthusiasts could safely assume that the sparks were going to fly. Davis and Griffin, after all, were one of hard bop's exciting tenor teams -- their saxophone battles were as legendary as the encounters of Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, or Phil Woods and Gene Quill (who, unlike the other teams mentioned here, were a two-alto pair). Battle Stations, like other Davis/Griffin encounters, points to the fact that the two tenormen never had a problem finding common ground. Both had big tones; both were very extroverted, aggressive players; and both swung unapologetically hard -- no one ever mistook either of them for members of jazz's cool school, which favored subtlety, restraint, and understatement over intensity and aggression. A sense of friendly competition is evident on Battle Stations; when Davis and Griffin lock horns, the result is musical sportsmanship at its finest. And "friendly" is the operative word on this 1960 date -- as competitive as Davis and Griffin could be, they had a great deal of respect for one another. Battle Stations (which employs Norman Simmons on piano, Victor Sproles on bass, and Ben Riley on drums) demonstrates that the saxmen were not only sparring partners, they were also a mutual admiration society, and the improvisers enjoy an incredibly strong rapport on hard-swinging numbers like "Pull My Coat," "Hey Jim!," and "What's Happening." Battle Stations is an album that fans of heated two-tenor exchanges shouldn't overlook. ~Allmusic

01. What's Happening (6:51)
02. Abundance (6:54)
03. If I Had You (6:46)
04. 63rd Street Theme (7:12)
05. Pull My Coat (6:41)
06. Hey Jim! (8:01)
07. Billie's Bounce (11:18)
08. Theme (1:06)

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - tenor saxophone
Johnny Griffin - tenor saxophone
Norman Simmons - piano (on #1-6)
Junior Mance - piano (on #7, 8)
Victor Sproles - bass (on #1-6)
Larry Gales - bass (on #7, 8)
Ben Riley - drums

Produced by Esmon Edwards
Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Recorded on September 2, 1960 (#1-6);
and in performance at Minton's Playhouse, NYC; January 6, 1961 (#7, 8)

#7 originally released on "The Late Show (Prestige 7357)";
#8 on "The Midnight Show (Prestige 7330)"

Remastering, 2002 - Joe Tarantino (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley)
Cover design and photo by Don Schlitten
Liner notes by Dan Morgenstern (August, 1963)

Thanks to the original uploader.