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GRANT GREEN

Racing Green - Guitar Solos 1959/62

Cherry Red ACMEMD 265 CD

 

 

CD1

Grant Green As Leader

Grant s First Stand

1. Miss Ann’s Tempo

2. Blues For Willarene

Grant Green - Guitar

“Baby Face” Willette - Organ

Ben Dixon - Drums

Green Street

3. Green With Envy

Grant Green - Guitar

Ben Tucker - Bass

Dave Bailey - Drums

Sunday Mornin

4. God Bless The Child

5. Come Sunrise

6. So What

Grant Green - Guitar

Kenny Drew - Piano

Ben Tucker - Bass

Ben Dixon - Drums

Grantstand

7. Blues In Maude’s Flat

8. Grantstand

9. Old Folks

Grant Green - Guitar

Yusef Lateef - Tenor sax, flute

Jack McDuff - Organ

Al Harewood - Drums

The Latin Bit

10. Mambo Inn

Grant Green - Guitar

Johnny Acea - Piano

Wendell Marshall - Bass

Willie Bobo - Drums

Carlos “Potato” Valdes - Conga

Carvin Masseaux - Chekeré

CD2

Grant Green As Featured Session Guitarist

Jimmy Forrest Quintet

1. All The Gin Is Gone

Jimmy Forrest - Tenor sax

Harold Mabern - Piano

Grant Green - Guitar

Gene Ramey - Bass

Elvin Jones – Drums

Sam Lazar Quartet

2. Space Flight

Sam Lazar - Organ

Grant Green - Guitar

Willie Dixon - Bass

Chauncey Williams - Drums

Brother Jack McDuff Quartet

3. Mr. Lucky

Jack McDuff - Organ

Jimmy Forrest - Tenor sax

Grant Green - Guitar

Ben Dixon - Drums

Stanley Turrentine Quintet

4. Yesterdays

Stanley Turrentine - Tenor sax

Horace Parlan - Piano

Grant Green - Guitar

George Tucker - Bass

Al Harewood - Drums

Dave Bailey Quintet

5. Reaching Out

Dave Bailey - Drums

Frank Haynes - Tenor sax

Billy Gardner - Piano

Grant Green - Guitar

Ben Tucker - Bass

Hank Mobley Quintet

6. Uh Huh

Hank Mobley - Tenor sax

Wynton Kelly - Piano

Grant Green - Guitar

Paul Chambers - Bass

Philly Joe Jones - Drums

Baby Face Willette Trio

7. Willow Weep For Me

“Baby Face “ Willette - Organ

Grant Green - Guitar

Ben Dixon - Drums

Sonny Red Quintet

8. The Mode

Sonny Red - Alto sax

Barry Harris - Piano

Grant Green - Guitar

George Tucker - Bass

Jimmy Cobb - Drums

Ike Quebec Quartet

9. Minor Impulse

Ike Quebec - Tenor sax

Grant Green - Guitar

Paul Chambers - Bass

Philly Joe Jones - Drums

Joe Carroll

10. Get Your Kicks On Route 66

11. Have You Got a Penny Benny

Joe Carroll - Vocals

Connie Lester - Tenor sax

Ray Bryant - Piano

Specs Williams - Organ

Grant Green - Guitar

Lee Ausley - Drums

Lou Donaldson Quintet

12. Funky Mama

Tommy Turrentine - Trumpet

Lou Donaldson - Alto sax

“Big” John Patton - Organ

Grant Green - Guitar

Ben Dixon - Drums


In the 1950s and 60s, there were several guitarists who gained recognition as innovators, or leading voices on their instrument. At the top of the list was Wes Montgomery, closely followed by Kenny Burrell. Working in their shadow was Grant Green who, for one reason or another, failed to gain the traction that should have come his way. Green was a hard-bop swinger, with an identifiable single-note style. For a period in the early 1960s, he recorded prodigiously for Blue Note Records, either under his own name or as a sideman. This 2-CD set captures Green during this period where his talent was on display, either building a solo or pushing the melody-line with his fleet-finger style.

Cherry Red Records has done a commendable job in separating these two facets of Green’s career by devoting one CD to each aspect. In addition they have provided very comprehensive insert notes that give details on the recording dates, along with background information on the players on the sessions. In CD1, the albums chosen to feature Grant Green as leader were not necessarily representative of Green’s best work during that period. There were better titles such as Born To Be Blue, recorded in 1962 with tenor man Ike Quebec and pianist Sonny Clark, but which was not released until 1985, and Nigeria, recorded in 1962 with pianist Sonny Clark, and this one was not released until 1980. Thus they may not have been available due to copyright reasons. Nevertheless, Green’s capability as a soloist at this time was well defined by his horn-like playing. In his first release as a leader entitled Grants First Stand, he found his comfort level with organist “Baby Face” Willette in a trio setting. The track Miss Anns Tempo is a swinger that is perfectly suited to showcase Grant’s digital dexterity, as he dances up and down the fretboard with abandon.

The Miles Davis composition So What has Green in a quartet with pianist Kenny Drew along with bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Ben Dixon. The number works well for the group, as the two main principals have extended solos, with Drew’s astute single-note meanderings giving Green the inspiration to demonstrate his robust and unimpeded style. Another quartet session has Yusef Lateef on tenor sax, Jack McDuff on organ, Al Harewood on drums in addition to Green. On Blues In Maudes Flat, which comes in at fifteen-plus minutes like a late night jam session, the band stretches out with Lateef’s big-toned tenor sax galvanizing the proceedings. McDuff who is a soulful sounding organist, lays down a solid groove, and pushes Green to take inspiration from the power of the music.

CD2 is devoted to Grant Green as a session guitarist. While it is an eclectic potpourri of groups with whom Green played, there are a number of tracks that really hum along and give him a chance to show his mettle. All The Gin Is Gone with the Jimmy Forrest Quintet, is Green’s debut as a recording artist. Although it is a blowing number principally designed for the tenor saxophone of Forrest, the fast, clipped, staccato style that Green modelled after Charlie Christian is fully evident. Yesterdays is taken from a live recording done at Minton’s Playhouse in New York City by the Stanley Turrentine Quintet. In addition to Turrentine’s tenor sax, Horace Parlan is on piano, and thus Green had to be in top form to have his say in the group. He does make the best of his brief solo space.

The stellar rhythm section of pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones makes the work of tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and guitarist Green effortless on the track Un Huh by the Hank Mobley Quintet. Opening with some unison playing between Mobley and Green, this sets the stage for a long solo by Mobley although there are some tenor squeaks along the way. Green continues in his Charlie Christian mode, but nevertheless proceeds to demonstrate his solid technique. Kelly is a bop-styled pianist who is effortlessly captivating in his lengthy solo. All in all, whether Grant Green was playing in a straight-ahead group such as the Ike Quebec Quartet, or getting down-home funky with a soul oriented Lou Donaldson Quintet, his guitar work stands out for its thoughtful flexibility.

Although Grant Green’s career was interrupted in the late 60s due to drug problems, and ultimately was cut short by a heart attack at 43 on January 31, 1979, he was a guitarist who rarely played a useless note, never took the easy route, and had a natural melodic sense.

Pierre Giroux



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