Monday, July 28, 2008

another idol passes

This time it's Johnny Griffin.
When I had lessons with a guy in Oakland, he asked me whose playing I liked, I told him, "Johnny Griffin." The choice was simple because I'd never heard bop played in such an understandable way until I heard Johnny Griffin (on some TV thingy in Germany). JG mixed speed and accuracy with an easy bluesy accessibility, and I loved it. Julie and I once saw him at the Showcase in Chicago, and even she, who considers most jazz to be pretentious "bwee-doo-bwee-daah" stuff - rightly so, I find - really liked him. (So much so that she's the one who pointed out his passing to me. Thanks, Julie.)
There were - and are - others I'd like to emulate, but I wanted to go with a not-too-obvious choice to impress my teacher.
He just wiped his forehead and said, "You'd better start eating a lot of grits."
I was twenty at the time, so of course I went to the grocery store and got me some grits.
I should get some today in honor of JG.

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