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Ira Sullivan and Johnny Griffin: Blue Stroll

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Multi-instrumentalists, those who maintain their proficiency on more than one family of instruments, are often amazing in their ability to maintain their musical thoughts so well on such a variety of axes. They seldom achieve anything near greatness, however: Benny Carter and-albeit debatably-Ornette Coleman may be notable exceptions. Ira Sullivan has certainly dropped more than his share of jaws in the course of his career, with a staggering array of vehicles for his very rich musical imagination. Here we hear him in a 1959 session pairing his multiple voices with those of Johnny Griffin; the rhythm section comprises Jodie Christian, piano; Victor Sproles, bass; and Wilbur Campbell, drums. It is a well-played session, building toward a remarkable climax in “Bluzinbee,” an uptempo scorcher whose intensity builds on a solo order that runs: Christian (piano); Sullivan (bari sax); Griffin (alto sax); Sullivan (trumpet); Griffin (tenor sax); Sullivan (peck [sort of a tenor] horn); Griffin (bari sax); Sullivan (alto sax); and finally, Campbell (drums).