The passing of jazz giant Johnny Griffin last week caused me to reach for “Talking Jazz: An Oral History,” an incredible 24-CD box set that I hadn’t made time to listen to.
Ben Sidran, a jazz and rock keyboardist, interviewed the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey for his NPR talk show “Sidran on Record.” His conversation with Johnny Griffin took place in 1988.
I’m streaming a 7½-minute excerpt on my Vox blog. Click here to hear it.
Griffin talks about his formative years at Chicago’s DuSable High School under the tutelage of Capt. Walter Dyett, a renowned music instructor.
(Among the famous performers taught by Capt. Dyett were Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Gene Ammons, Bo Diddley, Von Freeman, Eddie Harris, Clifford Jordan, Wilbur Ware and Redd Foxx.)
Griffin also tells how learning to play the oboe saved his life during the Korean War.
If you love jazz, you need to pawn some jewelry and get yourself that “Talking Jazz” set.