In & Out (Dreyfus Jazz)

Martial Solal & Johnny Griffin

Released in 2000

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Instrumental Album 2001




For “In & Out”, the “little giant” teams up with Martial Solal for a worthy addition to the tenor-piano lexicon. While Griffin is no longer as extroverted as in bygone days, he still thinks and executes very quickly. The biggest change is in his softer tone. The contrast between Griffin’s relatively measured approach and the outpourings of Solal evokes at times the classic combination of Ben Webster and Art Tatum. The pianist’s harmonic sense is engaging, especially when he reworks Monk.

Track Listing:

1. You Stepped Out of a Dream (Nacio Herb Brown / Gus Kahn) 7:13

2. Come With Me (John Griffin / Richard Rodgers) 6:10

3. In and Out (Martial Solal) 4:51

4. Hey Now (Johnny Griffin) 6:34

5. L’ Oreille Est Hardie (Martial Solal) 6:09

6. When You’re in My Arms (Johnny Griffin) 6:41

7. Neutralisme (Martial Solal) 4:34

8. Well, You Needn’t (Thelonious Monk) 4:59


Martial Solal: piano

Johnny Griffin: saxophone

Recorded June 29-30 & July 1st, 1999, at Studio Damiens, Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Producer: Francis Dreyfus

Engineer: Gérard De Haro


Two outstanding improvisers make this duet session thrilling from start to finish. The pair begins and ends with recognized standards, while filling out the inside with songs they’ve written (three apiece). Martial Solal’s crisp keyboard approach blends seamlessly with Johnny Griffin’s lyrical playfulness. Both piano and saxophone sustain by employing tremolos and energetic cascades. Solal’s creative spirit leans toward the dramatic, while Griffin’s interest lies closer to melodic charm. Both artists balance their presentation with ballad reflections and swinging landscapes. Solal favors stirring, wide-interval leaps and a precise percussiveness. Griffin, on the other hand, makes himself comfortable issuing legato statements of gentle passion. Both paint an exotic scene of straight-ahead jazz, dimly lit in the early morning hours and overflowing with a lifetime of valuable ideas.

Jim Santella (AllAboutJazz)