The Johnny Griffith Quintet is the newest project from this Canadian saxophonist and composer. Formed in early 2013 to record an EP, the quintet features a line up of some of the most exciting young performers out of Canada and the US. Special guest NYC’s Jeremy Pelt adds his internationally acclaimed trumpet sound, while Jon Maharaj, Adrean Farrugia and Ethan Ardelli offer the energy and originality of this new generation of jazz artists. Reunited for a series of performances in August 2014, the quintet recorded thier debut CD, Dance with the Lady. Comprised of nine of Johnny’s original compositions, ranging in influences from Joe Henderson, Andrew Hill to Kenny Wheeler & Anton Webern, this record has strong roots in jazz tradition yet heralds the contemporary voice of this young composer.
The Zissou Predicament – An explosive hard-bop inspired tune, named for Johnny’s favorite movie, the life aquatic. A quote from Steve Zissou sums it up : “I’m going to find it and I’m going to destroy it. I don’t know how yet…. Possibly with dynamite.”
Princess Aura Goes to Phyrgia a contemporary jazz composition named for the 80’s Sci-Fi cult classic Flash Gordon. Ming the Merciless’ daughter Aura, tries to convince Flash to join her on her secret pleasure moon – Phrygia. This song is inspired by that moon and explores the third mode of the major scale…Phrygian.
Syrah, a dedication to one of Johnny’s true loves – an open bottle on the back porch.
The Kuleshascope is named for Canadian Art Music composer Gary Kulesha. Uses twelve tone composition techniques…but sounds like Anton Webern jumped into a time machine and met up with the guys from Black Sabbath and then all went for a drink at a jazz club.
Bass Interlude – Marked as explicit on iTunes. Computers must be getting pretty powerful if they are now able to read the minds of musicians while they play…who knows what Jon was thinking.
Mile Walk a brooding slow dark tune featuring Jeremy Pelt sounding very much like Miles Davis.
Cinders takes its name from a trip to the ballet to see Prokofiev’s Cinderella. The tune takes it’s harmonic concepts from the Russian master composer, yet is very reminiscent of Kenny Wheeler’s style.
That Night Under The Bench, named for a time Johnny spent homeless in NYC. Afraid to sleep at night, he was sleep deprived and began to have delusions. The angular sax/bass introduction joined by the contrapuntal trumpet and piano melodies were written during that rough time he spent trying to stay awake…under a bench.
Johnny Griffith – Alto/Tenor Saxophones
Jeremy Pelt – Trumpet
Adrean Farrugia – Piano
Jon Maharaj – Bass
Ethan Ardelli – Drums
We acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters