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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Johnny Griffin


JOHNNY GRIFFIN (saxophonist, bandleader) was born April 24, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois and passed away July 25, 2008 in Mauprevoir, France. Debuting with Lionel Hampton as a teen in 1945, Griffin was an avid student of the music, growing up listening to Ben Webster, Lester Young and most of all Charlie Parker, playing clarinet, piano and steel guitar. Building his reputation for bold and spontaneous style as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Thelonius Monk’s band and co-leading a group with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Griffin moved to Europe in the 60’s continuing to perform and record, returning to the U.S. in 1978 and was introduced to a new generation of jazz fans.