Grant Green

Guitar

(1935 - 1979)

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Grant Green was one of very few modern guitarists to successfully combine the drive and blues feel of Charlie Christian with the smooth phrasing and modified rhythms of Wes Montgomery. At home in various areas of Jazz, he had a particularly strong affinity with gospel-rooted blues. He was born on June 6, 1935 in St Louis, Missouri and started playing professionally at the age of 13. His early influences were Charlie Christian and Charlie Parker and his first recordings in St Louis were with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest. The drummer in the band was Elvin Jones . Grant was discovered in St Louis by Lou Donaldson who took him on tour and later to New York (1959/60) where Donaldson introduced him to Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records. This was the beginning of a recording relationship that was to last throughout most of the sixties. From 1961 to 1965 Grant appeared on more Blue Note sessions as leader and sideman than anyone else. His first recorded album as a leader was "Grant's First Stand". This was followed in the same year by "Green Street" and "Grantstand". He often provided support to many of other great musicians on Blue Note. These included saxophonists Hank Mobley, Ike Quebec, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Turrentine and Harold Vick, as well as organist Larry Young. Grant was named best new star in the Down Beat critics' poll, 1962. His albums "Idle Moments" (with Joe Henderson and Bobby Hutcherson - 1963) and "Solid" (featuring Joe Henderson and the John Coltrane Rhythm section - 1964) are generally acclaimed as two of Grant's best recordings. Many of Grant's recordings were not released during his lifetime. These include "Matador", in which Grant is once again in the heavyweight company of the Coltrane rhythm section, and a series of sessions with pianist Sonny Clark. In 1966 Grant left Blue Note and recorded for several other labels, including Verve. From 1967 to 1969 Grant was inactive due to personal problems and the effects of drug addiction which gave an opportunity to both Wes Montgomery and George Benson to establish their reputation in the jazz guitar field. Meanwhile Grant must have been listening to the popular sound of James Brown and Motown because in 1969 Grant returned with a new funk-influenced band. His recordings from this period include the commercially successful "Green is Beautiful" and the soundtrack to the film "The Final Comedown". Grant left Blue Note in 1974 and the subsequent recordings he made with other labels are usually described as "commercial", which probably means that much of Grant's unique sound and musicianship is lost in glossy production. Grant spent much of 1978 in hospital and, against the advice of doctors, went back on the road to earn some money While in New York to play an engagement at George Benson's Breezin' Lounge, on January 31, 1979 Grant collapsed in his car of a heart attack. Survived by six children, he was buried in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Recommended recordings
Idle Moments Blue Note
Green Street Blue Note

Introducing Grant Green

Blue Note
Matador Blue Note
Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark Blue Note
Solid Blue Note
Feelin' the Spirit Blue Note

The Original Jam Master Vol 1. Ain't it Funky Now

Blue Note
The Original Jam Master Vol 2. For the Funk of it Blue Note
The Original Jam Master Vol 3. Mellow Madness Blue Note
Sunday Mornin' Blue Note
I want to hold your Hand Blue Note
Ballads Blue Note
Alive [Live] Blue Note
Best of Vol. 1 Blue Note
Best of Vol. 2 Blue Note
Grantstand Blue Note
Born to be Blue Blue Note
Standards Blue Note
Carryin' On Blue Note
Green is Beautiful Blue Note
Talkin' About Blue Note
Blues for Lou Blue Note
Grant's First Stand Blue Note
First Session Blue Note
Reaching Out 1201 Music
His Majesty King Funk Verve
Iron City 32 Jazz
   
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