Johnny Griffin: Change of Pace

When Griffin wanted to record with a group comprised of Watkins, bassists Bill Lee and Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley, his producer wondered where the idea had come from. Perhaps the Pettiford groups discussed above influenced the tenorman’s thinking, but the two-bass format is even trickier than the bass-cello combination-not that you would know it from this great 1961 record. Usually Lee plays arco to Gales’ pizzicato but sometimes they both bow or pick simultaneously, albeit in well-defined situations. Griffin also contributed some very unique original writing. I have always thought of Griffin as a fire-breathing soloist, but with Change of Pace he revealed a talent for arranging that few might suspect, and the band sounds like they’re having a blast.