Johnny Griffin was one of the most exciting tenor-saxophonists to emerge during the 1950s. His warm and passionate tone was distinctive (becoming an influence on Rahsaan Roland Kirk), he could play chorus after chorus of inventive and fresh ideas, and he was unbeatable in a saxophone battle. The Congregation is a superb outing full of heat, fire and intensity, with time out for thoughtful ballads. Teamed with pianist Sonny Clark in a quartet, Griffin is quite exuberant on the lengthy sanctified title cut which is reminiscent of the jubilant Horace Silver tune “The Preacher.” He tears into “It’s You Or No One” and puts plenty of honest feeling into the other songs which are taken at a more moderate pace. Johnny Griffin, like the very best jazz musicians, meant every note that he played and his solos were full of constant surprises, making his best recordings timeless. The Congregation is one of his finest albums.
|3||I’m Glad There Is You|
|5||It’s You Or No One|