At Onkel Pö's Carnegie Hall
Onkel Pö's Carnegie Hall was a Hamburg Germany music venue in the 1970s and 1980s that presented a wide variety of music. This CD by the quintet led by the two famous tenor saxophonists, Johnny Griffith and Eddie "Lockjaw' Davis is one of a number of releases of live recordings by such artists as Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, Albert Collins, James Booker, Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, Louis Hayes-Junior Cook Quintet, Louisiana Red, The New Woody Shaw Quintet, Esther Phillips and others.
The present album has the very dynamic saxophonists backed by the trio of Tete Montoliu on piano, Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen on bass, and Art Taylor on drums. There is nothing fancy here, just a hard-swinging set of swing and bop standards with seven performances (roughly 100 minutes) spread across the two CDs, starting with Davis on cymbals and bass drum kicking off a rousing, relatively brief "C Jam Blues." Its a friendly battle as the two joust playing "On Green Dolphin Street," with Ørsted-Pedersen and Montoliu introducing the theme before the two jointly state the theme and take off, both playing robustly on this lengthy performance. Then there is a winsome rendition by Griffith of Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" with a lengthy, melodious piano solo and a tight bass solo. The first disc concludes with a spirited rendition of Monk's "In Walked Bud."
Lockjaw Davis is featured with some splendid ballad-playing "I Can't Started," opening the second disc followed by a lengthy, high-spirited "Stomping at the Savoy." The two blast off on the simple motive of Benny Green's "Funky Flute" with Griffith's high energy matched by his fellow tenor sax master with Taylor exploding with bombs in support as Montoliu once again demonstrating why he was so highly regarded. After Ørsted-Pedersen solos, Taylor's takes an explosive drum solo, before the horns ride it out. It concludes this excellent straight-ahead set by the two tenor sax giants.
I purchased this. This review appeared in the September-October 2019 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 386) although I made minor stylistic changes. Here is a video of Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis performing. Incidentally, a new CD by the two, "Ow! Live at the Penthouse,"is coming out on Black Friday, Novermber 29, 2019 on Reel to Real Recordings.