Man With A Horn; Toot That Trumpet Mr. Chris; Sing, Sing, Sing
Gordon Chris Griffin
Oct. 31, 1915-Jun 18 2005
"the best trumpet section of all time" saidDuke
Ellington in an interview that aired on the
"What do you feed those trumpet players? Raw meat?" Said Harry Glanz, Principal Trumpet with The NY Philharmonic.
When just seventeen, Chris recorded with Charlie Barnet, Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey, Eddie Sauter, and Toots Camarata. Eddie Sauter, of the famous Sauter/Finegan duo, and Toots Camarata who recorded (for posterity) many of the legendary brass sections of renown from the golden era of "Big Bands." Chris joined the The Benny Goodman Band, ("The Beatles of their day,") in 1937. In 1938, the band performed at Carnegie Hall. (Says Harry James, "we felt like whores in church!") Chris also performed in such movies as "Hollywood Hotel-Video "The Big Band Broadcast of 1937" and "The Benny Goodman Story."
(Click on Pictures For Enlargements)
were a natural outcome of this union, (six of them) and in deference to
the many offers of a band of his own, (John Hammond, Willard Alexander,
etc.) and in the interests of a still larger family, Chris joined the
orchestra of CBS. There, he assumed the lead trumpet position
had been vacated by, then musical giant, Bunny Berigan. Chris'
performance gave brilliance to such legendary radio shows as, The
Strike Hit Parade, The Phillip Morris Show, (Little Johnny, "Call
For Phillip Morris!") and The Camel Caravan.
|1960-With Ed Sullivan-24 Years
||1958- (Reunion) Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hacket, Chris Griffin, Helen Ward, Benny Goodman & Martha Tilton||1988-Jack Palmer, Paul Griffin, Chris Griffin
in a celebratory pose after recording of the trumpet ensemble from "Marie" Recorded in Paul's living room during a "party" -mp3
Chris was one of the pioneers of television as he performed with The Ray Bloch Orchestra on The Toast of the Town, which ultimately became The Ed Sullivan Show. Also the shows of Kate Smith, Milton Berle, Patti Page, Eddie Fisher, Gary Moore, (Carol Burnett) Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason, (Where his trumpet obligato on the theme became synonymous amongst musicians and entertainers); the list goes on.
Chris is mentioned in the biographies and auto-biographies of: Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme', Benny Goodman, Harry James, etc.
After sixty-four years of harmonious marriage, Helen (as sweet and wonderful a lady as ever became mortal) passed away on July 23, 2000. She was music itself! ...The rhythm of life, the harmony of family and friends, and the melody that lingers on. She truly loved to sing and dance and her last words to me were, "don't be sad, I'm going to dance in heaven with the O'Briens." (If ever the unacceptable could possibly be made palatable) I could only respond, "you most certainly are, mom! I Love You!"
Mom passed away, Dad came to live with us at The Griffin House, and at my request, he recorded
memoirs into a digital recording device. I edited the recordings and
after organizing them onto cd's, they were sent to Warren Vache' Sr.,
who transcribed them for a published book:
In With Chris Griffin, a reminiscence of
radio and recording's Golden Years. Currently, I'm working on a DVD
combining video and audio recordings of the life and times of a studio
musician. It will include excerpts from his recorded memoirs, family
video, and archive footage from classic videos. That should keep me
Those who venture to The Griffin House in Jeffersonville, NY are both treated and captivated by the music and the history that are so pervasive, and compelling. Paul & Irene have successfully incorporated their own family identity into the local history of Jeffersonville, and The Griffin House was awarded the Star Of The Industry-2006 by New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association. Paul was also nominated as Tourism Executive of the Year, for his community involvements. The Meadows
|All About Jazz||Answers. Com||International Trumpet Guild||The Daily Telegraph-UK||Sound Generator||The News-Times June 25, 2005|
|New York Times Dec 19, 2004|
|Evening In Paris Orchestra||Jimmy Dorsey||Bing Crosby||Section Leaders|
|Chris Griffin, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, BG
||Carnegie Hall Program||1937 Movie "Hollywood Hotel"
||Chris & Helen
Griffin, Billy & Margaret Butterfield, Bob & Wendy Haggart,
Andy & Marcel Ferretti, Joe & Jewel Bowman, & Others