White Gardenia

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White Gardenia
White Gardenia.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedJuly 13, 14 & 17, 1961
at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City
LabelRiverside RLP 387 (mono), RS 9387
ProducerOrrin Keepnews
Johnny Griffin chronology
Blues Up & Down
White Gardenia
The Kerry Dancers

White Gardenia is an album by jazz saxophonist Johnny Griffin with brass and strings which was recorded in 1961 and released on the Riverside label.[1] As a tribute album to jazz singer Billie Holiday, who had died two years earlier, all songs had been sung by her, except for the title track, which is the only original composition by Griffin on the album. The white gardenia was the flower Holiday often wore in her hair. The orchestral arrangements were written by Melba Liston and Norman Simmons.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Down Beat3/5 stars[2]
Penguin Guide to Jazz3/5 stars[3]
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[4]

Richard Cook and Brian Morton wrote in their Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD: "A delightful, smoothly orchestrated tribute to Lady Day that manages to be more than just pastiche" with the strings serving "mainly for depth of focus and harmony, rather than as emotional treacle."[3] The Allmusic site awarded the album 2½ stars stating that the arrangements were "tasteful, and the lyrical music is well-performed, if not overly memorable. Worth checking out".[4]

Release notes[edit]

A review of White Gardenia in Down Beat from March 1962 indicates, that the album was in fact released not until about that time.[2] Riverside also released the title track as a single with "Good Morning, Heartache" as B-side (R 4514),[1] and a 7" EP with four tracks, adding "Detour Ahead" and "No More" (SE-2056).[5] In 1973, the album was reissued on a double LP coupled with another recording by Griffin with Orchestra from May and June 1960, originally released as The Big Soul-Band (Big Soul on Milestone).[6] White Gardenia was later reissued on CD as part of the Original Jazz Classics series on OJCCD 1877-2.[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Gloomy Sunday" (Sam M. Lewis, Rezső Seress) - 4:06
  2. "That Old Devil Called Love" (Doris Fisher, Allan Roberts) - 3:50
  3. "White Gardenia" (Johnny Griffin) - 3:18
  4. "God Bless the Child" (Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog, Jr.) - 3:17
  5. "Detour Ahead" (Lou Carter, Herb Ellis, Johnny Frigo) - 4:33
  6. "Good Morning Heartache" (Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher, Irene Higginbotham) - 4:10
  7. "Don't Explain" (Holiday, Herzog) - 4:43
  8. "Trav'lin' Light" (Trummy Young, Jimmy Mundy, Johnny Mercer) - 4:06
  9. "No More" (Tutti Camarata, Bob Russell) - 3:57
  10. "Left Alone" (Holiday, Mal Waldron) - 2:54

Tracks 1, 7 and 9 were recorded on July 13, tracks 2, 5 and 8 were recorded July 14, and tracks 3, 4, 6 and 10 were recorded on July 17, 1961.



  1. ^ a b c Johnny Griffin discography accessed October 25, 2012
  2. ^ a b Down Beat: March 1, 1962 Vol. 29, No. 5
  3. ^ a b Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, Fifth Edition, Penguin Books, London, 2000, ISBN 0-14-051452-X, p. 620.
  4. ^ a b Yanow, S. Allmusic Review accessed October 25, 2012
  5. ^ Johnny Griffin – White Gardenia at Discogs
  6. ^ The labels Milestone and Riverside were both acquired by Fantasy Records in 1972. Original Jazz Classics is also a sub-label of Fantasy Records.