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Grant Green

A severely underrated player during his lifetime, Grant Green is one of the great unsung heroes of jazz guitar. He combined an extensive foundation in R&B with a mastery of bebop and simplicity that put expressiveness ahead of technical expertise. Green was a superb blues interpreter, and while his later material was predominantly blues and R&B, he was also a wondrous ballad and standards soloist. He was a particular admirer of Charlie Parker, and his phrasing often reflected it.

Grant Green was born in St. Louis in 1935 (although many records during his lifetime incorrectly listed 1931). He learned his instrument in grade school from his guitar-playing father, and was playing professionally by the age of thirteen with a gospel group. He worked gigs in his home town and in East St. Louis, Illinois -- playing in the '50s with Jimmy Forrest, Harry Edison, and Lou Donaldson -- until he moved to New York in 1960 at the suggestion of Donaldson. Green told Dan Morgenstern in a Down Beat interview: "The first thing I learned to play was boogie-woogie. Then I had to do a lot of rock & roll. It's all blues, anyhow."

During the early '60s, both his fluid, tasteful playing in organ/guitar/drum combos and his other dates for Blue Note established Green as a star, though he seldom got the critical respect given other players. He collaborated with many organists, among them Brother Jack McDuff, Sam Lazar, Baby Face Willette, Gloria Coleman, Big John Patton, and Larry Young. He was off the scene for a bit in the mid-'60s, but came back strong in the late '60s and '70s. Green played with Stanley Turrentine, Dave Bailey, Yusef Lateef, Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones.

Sadly, drug problems interrupted his career in the '60s, and undoubtedly contributed to the illness he suffered in the late '70s. Green was hospitalized in 1978 and died a year later. Despite some rather uneven LPs near the end of his career, the great body of his work represents marvelous soul-jazz, bebop, and blues.

Although he mentions Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney as influences, Green always claimed he listened to horn players (Charlie Parker and Miles Davis) and not other guitar players, and it shows. No other player has this kind of single-note linearity (he avoids chordal playing). There is very little of the intellectual element in Green's playing, and his technique is always at the service of his music. And it is music, plain and simple, that makes Green unique.

Green's playing is immediately recognizable -- perhaps more than any other guitarist. Green has been almost systematically ignored by jazz buffs with a bent to the cool side, and he has only recently begun to be appreciated for his incredible musicality. Perhaps no guitarist has ever handled standards and ballads with the brilliance of Grant Green. Mosaic, the nation's premier jazz reissue label, issued a wonderful collection The Complete Blue Note Recordings with Sonny Clark, featuring prime early '60s Green albums plus unissued tracks. Some of the finest examples of Green's work can be found there. ~ Michael Erlewine & Ron Wynn
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: For The Funk Of It

2. The Final Comedown

3. Cantaloupe Woman

4. Dracula

5. California Green

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Track List: Ain't It Funky Now!

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Track List: Street Of Dreams

x

Track List: Matador

x

Track List: The Latin Bit

1. Mambo Inn

2. Besame Mucho

3. Mama Inez

4. Brazil

6. My Little Suede Shoes

7. Blues For Juanita

8. Grenada

x

Track List: Born To Be Blue

1. Someday My Prince Will Come

2. Born To Be Blue

3. Born To Be Blue (Alternate Take)

4. If I Should Lose You

6. My One And Only Love

7. Count Every Star

x

Track List: Sunday Mornin'

1. Freedom March

2. Sunday Mornin'

3. Exodus

4. God Bless The Child

5. Come Sunrise

6. So What

7. Tracin' Tracy

Comments

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My all time favorite jazz guitarist.I still listen to him today (AWESOME)
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p.greer22
It sounds like a horn is playing, but it is a guitar. Wow! Creative Genius!
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rffian73
Didn't realize what a brilliant musician he was. He'll be my new station. Besame
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What is often missed about this tremendously soulful man is that he was the go to guitarist in the late 50's and early 60's organ trio's and general jazz combinations playing in a bebop style like no other could compare but then when the music revolution of the 60's rock and funk took over the airwaves, Grant took a hard turn reinventing his style into a soulful funk quite different from his earlier mainstream jazz musings. This guy was one of the greats right up there with Wes Montgomery!
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A breath of fresh air clear clean krisp notes with the high quality energy and feel that makes me feel good on a beautiful winters day a walkabout in nature is indeed what I will do today smaken good music with a tight band
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DON'T L@@K because it actually works. You will be missed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if u don't post this u will die in two days. Now you've started so you can't stop now this is so scary. Put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters!Leav e a coment!!!!!! God will show his utter wrath upon you all if you don't!!! GOD IS UPON US
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DEFINITELY GREAT SAMPLE MATERIAL!!!! AIN'T NOTHING LIKE REAL, GOOD EMOTION STIRRING MUSIC!
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migueltmack
Yo conocía su música...... p e r o ahora le tengo más repeto.....d e s p u é s de tartar de tocarla..... . . . . . . j e je
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Great stuff also love the Bass Man he does him good. Really great sounds here.
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That introduction was by Grant's 'buddy' & manager at that time, Bobby Green ( my Dad Robert Francis Green) I know, he told me! What an experience for me to know he's in a historical record & account such as this! Enjoy
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wdkjr
Some guitarists play 'at' you. Green takes you where he wants you to go. You just didn't know you wanted to be there.
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dvallo2
I'm not a jazz listener but stumbled onto Grant Green at Pandora and I was blown away since guitar moves me
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Enjoyale style.
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babylass
Wow...
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AIN'T IT FUNKY NOW is classic funk x
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roger929rr
He played often at THE GOLDEN FALCON in a-square (Ann Arbor). We always went. There, he played JAZZ but you could always dance to it. Always fabulous.
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thomas.julia s u e 3
A very different and uniqueness to his style.
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The song "EASE BACK" rocks !!!!! The dialogue between Grant Green & drummer Idris Muhammad is awesome x
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one_fab_sitt e r
I love Grant Green's guitar!
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linksgayaren a
From the Fleetwood this is one of the cats I really dig. Peace
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Heard Let the Music Take Your Mind on WPFW while stuck in DC traffic one day. Was blown away. Never a jazz guy, but was a Grant Green fan ever since.
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Idle Moments is classic late night stonin' tunes
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RUSTY TROMBONE FEST. SAN FRANCISCO VERY FUNNY
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cranking the tune sookie sookie
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First time hearing Bedouin. Rocks !!! X
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Damn! Could this man play or what?!
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Beautiful work. If you like Grant Green you sould check out Calvin Keys and Bill Frisell.
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steven_w_gre g o r y
I've always loved Grant Green. He is so accessible that listening is pure pleasure. He never shows off with jarring flashy fireworks that distract from the groove. The Zen waters are calm and soothing the scenery is beautiful and there are lots of fish to catch!
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This guy is awesome!
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I have had Grant Green in my collection since the 60's . He is great and he knew how to put a funky band together . His best recording are the live .. ie Live at Club Mozambique and Grant Green Alive .. check it out
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I had in honor and pleasure of meeting Grant Green in 1979. He was so down to earth. I didn't know just how he was but just being able to sit around and talk, eat and just have fun with him, his family and his band was a time in my life I will never forget. RIP . You are missed.
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Live at the Lighthouse!
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He is Walter Becker's (of Steely Dan fame) hero. Nuff said.
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I saw him live at the Rusty Trombone Festival in San Francisco back in the 70's. It was a life changing moment for me.
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jamesmoses46
check out pat martino,mike stern,charli e christian,ed d i e lang!!!
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I love Grant Green,too
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Richard King Grant Green was the man
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Top 3 jazz guitarists.. .
Kenny Burrell
Grant Green
Wes Montgomery

Very nice bio, BTW.
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Grant green rules!
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he is a great , clean, resourceful guitar player... Amazing..
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Add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for Grant. Nicely written Bio, too. Jdavid
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He was a pioneer as far as bringing so called jazz to many young guitarists ....very accessible .
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johnrstark
Check out his Idle Moments session on Blue Note, with Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Henderson--t h e title track is especially fine. Approaches perfection.
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jazz, man...
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jazz icon
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He got to be himself - sophisticate d , funky and all way`s musical
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skirtsoplain
Iron City is pure genius
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His 'single-note linearity' rocks.
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Great! Love the 50's jazz.
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the goombah chiming in again. his music is a perfect fit or my radio show TRIBALAND. www.horrible r e a l i t y l a n d . c o m
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