On Saturday, November 5th at 8 pm at Pausa Art House JazzBuffalo presents The Green Street Sessions: A Retrospective On The Music Of Grant Green. Grant Green was one of the most prolific jazz guitarists of his time. Appearing on more than 100 albums, including 30 where Green was the group leader. Grant Green performed during the same period as Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, and other guitarists of the late ‘50’s through the ‘60’s era. Resulting in his star to not shine as brightly as possibly it could have in another era where there were not as many great jazz guitarists rising at the same time.
Grant Green has a distinctive tone quality that makes him unique among his peers of the referenced time period. Concentrating on playing single notes and developing melodies with the use of the pick. Different from other jazz guitarists who utilized chords extensively to develop their unique stylings.
Green’s jazz interpretation repertoire covered many types of genres. He performed straight-ahead, bebop, hard bop, funk, soul, Latin, and even jazz interpretations of country-western. Green also did interpretations of pop songs from The Beatles, James Brown, Jackson 5, and more. All the while, the constant in these interpretations was their being grounded in a distinctive jazz blues groove and single-note picking.
Grant Green was first discovered, in a major way, by the legendary alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson in 1959. By the years 1961-1965, he was in high demand by Blue Note’s roster of jazz musicians at that time. Which, included accompanying Jack McDuff, Joe Henderson, Sonny Clark, and McCoy Tyner on recordings. In 1964, Green recorded the Blue Note album entitled Idle Moments. Critics throughout the world consider this album to be Green’s definitive best recordings and hold a special place in the annals of jazz history.
In 1966, Grant Green left Blue Note and went to the Verve label. Due to the struggle of being a jazz musician at the time, there was a lack of studio recording sessions in this move, causing extreme hardship. By 1968, things spiraled out of control with a severe drug addiction that caused his live performances, as well as, his marriage to suffer and end in divorce.
In 1970, on the road to recovery, Green moved to Detroit. He focused on playing locally and then began a resurgence by performing interpretations of pop tunes and funk. An example is the funky tune “Sookie Sookie”. In the ‘70’s his health deteriorated and Green passed away in 1979. Here is a clip of a live version of “Sookie, Sookie”.
The legendary guitarist and his recording began to resurface in the 1990’s and several retrospectives have brought his jazz genius back to its rightful place in jazz history. The Green Street Sessions is a retrospective on Green’s genius. The group that features George Kane on guitar, Lisa Hasselback on piano, Wayne Moose on bass, Tim Clarke on trumpet, Devin Kelly on drums, and Tony Zambito on percussion will perform music from not only Idle Moments but from the vast library of Grant Green recordings.
The retrospective is designed to, as is the mission of JazzBuffalo, to build awareness and appreciation for the artistry of Grant Green. We hope you will join jazz fans and the audience in experiencing the musicality of Grant Green on Saturday, November 5th at 8 pm at Pausa Art House.
Keep Jazz Alive In WNY!!