Recapping the Best of 2011: Dick Griffin – “Time Will Tell”

Don’t get me wrong; I love modern jazz.  A lot of it doesn’t sound too much like it was recorded in 1959 (widely viewed as the greatest year in jazz recordings).  And I’m okay with that.  When I want to listen to music that sounds like it was recorded in 1959, then I’ll find a cd on my shelf that has the 1959 date on it.  I want my jazz to sound like it was recorded in the present day.

However, every now and then, I am gratified to hear a jazz album that accomplishes sounding both modern and 1959ish.  God bless ya, Mr. Griffin, you just made my day.

Dick Griffin - "Time Will Tell"

Time Will Tell is pretty much an old-school jazz album.  A jazz vet calls up a bunch of his fellow jazz pros, gets them in the studio, shows them some straight-ahead compositions, and then just plays the heck out of ’em.  This here is great jazz, pure and unadulterated.  I’ve always felt for a jazz album to be great, it’s gotta make a statement.  One of the simplest, yet powerful statements to make is, here is the soul of jazz, now listen while we celebrate it.  Ain’t a tune on this album that isn’t joyful like crazy.

The bluesy opening track sets the table for the enjoyable blowing session to follow.  On the second track, “Home Song,” James Spaulding makes a ridiculous entrance on sax, as if he’d taken his original idea for an opening chord progression then twisted it and turned it onto its head; it’s a short but very compelling moment.  “For the Love in My Heart” speaks of longing and heartbreak, Cecil McBee’s bass lines an underpinning of sadness.  The sixth track “Mind Over”, my favorite on the album, comes blaring right out of the gate with the blues and fire of Griffin’s trombone, and George Cables’ piano lines are live wires while Spaulding and Victor Lewis just cook like mad when Cables steps back.

Every player on this album has strong jazz roots.  Album leader Dick Griffin on trombone, Cecil McBee on bass, George Cables on bass, James Spaulding on alto sax & flute, and Victor Lewis on drums.  Serious jazz fans will recognize these names immediately; casual or newbie jazz fans, maybe not.  A good tactic to have when first starting to discover jazz is following the bread trail of band members to other albums they appear on or lead.  Every name here will be a solid source of other wonderful jazz albums to discover on your own.

Time Will Tell clocks in just under fifty-two minutes.  It’s released on the Ruby Records label, but I think this might really be self-produced, and Ruby Records is Dick’s label. Also, on his website, Dick mentions that if you buy the cd and email him, he’ll autograph it via Skype. A nice touch.

Time Will Tell art

Dick Griffin is also a painter, and the cd has some neat examples of his work.  Here’s one…


Here’s a link to Dick Griffin’s artist site.

Here’s a link to a free track featured as the AllAboutJazz Download of the Day, courtesy of Dick Griffin.

Available at Amazon: CD| MP3

Some wonderful bop, some wonderful blues, a wonderful album.