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Jazz musician Griffin dead at age 80

July 26, 2008 at 5:15 PM

PARIS, July 26 (UPI) -- Johnny Griffin, one of the world's best jazz tenor saxophonists, has died in the French village of Availles-Limouzine at the age of 80, his agent says.

Agent Helene Manfredi said Griffin earned a reputation for playing alongside such jazz greats as John Coltrane and Art Blakey, and through his distinct robust style, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

In a 1995 interview, Griffin explained his rare musical style as creating "pellets of love."

"Everybody called me a racehorse, but feeling good is my thing," he said. "Art Blakey used to say to me, 'You fire that (saxophone) like it's a machine gun.' I'd say, 'Yeah, man, but those are pellets of love.'"

Griffin's musical efforts are apparent on the 1957 album "A Blowin' Session," which he created with Coltrane and fellow saxophonist Hank Mobley, The Washington Post said.

The Post reported no survivors for Griffin, who died Friday of unexplained causes.

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