We continue our discussion of jazz guitar greats with Grant Green. Green was from St. Louis, and was influenced by Charlie Christian, as were many players of the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was also influenced by sax players such as Charlie Parker and Lester Young. As a result, he works primarily in single-line solos with very little chord-melody work. When I first heard him, I was impressed with how comfortable and simple his playing was. Not so simple when you try to copy it, though… He started out playing a lot of blues and R&B, and experimented with Latin, gospel and spiritual, funk, and is considered one of the pioneers of acid jazz. He was a prolific recorder, turning out multiple albums in his first years with Blue Note Records.
The first video is “Besame Mucho,” from his 1962 release The Latin Bit. He changes from the Latin rhythm of the song for an extended period to solo with a backbeat accompaniment before returning to the Latin rhythm at the end. The second is “A Day In The Life” from 1970’s Green Is Beautiful. His playing of the tune is very similar to that of Wes Montgomery in some of his later sessions.
There’s much more on YouTube, so spend some time listening.
That’s your Two for Tuesday, November 11, 2014.