Grant Green / June 6, 1935 - Jan 31, 1979

Groovy Guitarist Grant Green was a regular presence on Blue Note Records and with funky organ combos. He was rooted in bop, blues and R&B and adapted his sound and approach to many different styles. He was inspired mostly by horn players, although he rarely worked with them. He effortlessly laid down lots of fluid single-note runs, and the only guitarists he seems to have cited as influence were Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney.

From St Louis, was playing in gospel bands by 12, before getting into rock & roll and R&B. He first recorded in '59 with Jimmy Forrest (Elvin Jones was the drummer). Lou Donaldson discovered Green while visiting St Louis and hired him for his band, bringing Grant to NYC and Blue Note Records. He recorded immediately as a leader, yet did contribute greatly as a sideman on several bop sessions for the label.

As the label grew in popularity and ambition Blue Note placed him in many commercially-oriented contexts: funk, gospel, ballads, country, Latin, Beatles tunes, blaxploitation soundtrack...and he always emerged as a cleanly tasteful player on such gimmicky themes. He even did "My Favorite Things" with McCoy Tyner & Elvin on a '64 session (released in Japan in '79).

The late '60s were a troubling time for Green as his drug addiction took him off the scene, save for a few sessions with Verve and Savoy. He rejoined Blue Note in the '70s, going for a more James Brown/funk direction. And while that was sacrilege to snotty jazz assholes it did create some funky jams that would excite the acid jazz generation and come to be sampled by jazz-loving hiphop producers. He died at 43, having been ravaged by heroin.

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