Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grant Green's Solid & Show # 496

Grant Green was a Jazz guitarist that has, as often noted been overlooked during his lifetime. Green was born in St. Louis, Missouri on June 6th, 1935, he quickly built up an ability to play guitar and started sitting in Jazz bands as early as age 12. He was influenced by other Jazz guitarists such as Charlie Parker and Charlie Christian, but while he was known as a Jazz guitarist his playing was said to always have been deep rooted in Blues. Green would become associated with the Blue Note label and recorded a large number of recordings for the label both as a sideman and as a solo artist, his recordings total over 20 for Blue Note alone. Later in his career his style would cater more towards Funk and Soul, and after a resurgence of interest in the nineties, Green has come to also be considered the father of “Acid Jazz”.

Many cite 1963’s Idle Moments as one of his best for Blue Note, however in 1964 he recorded two sessions that are often seen as some of his most interesting and inspired works, they also remained unreleased for fifteen years before they saw the light of day. With two thirds of John Coltrane’s rhythm section Elvin Jones on drums and McCoy Tyner on piano and Bob Crenshaw on bass, Green recorded what was to become the album known as Matador in June of 1964. In May of the same year he headed back into the studio with the same core of musicians to record was was to become 1964’s Solid and as such, Solid is seen as a companion piece to Matador. It should also be noted that while Jones, Tyner and Crenshaw are on both of these releases there was a horn section on Solid only. The horn section was James Spaulding on alto saxophone and Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone for Solid. Nevertheless, Solid turned out to be a hard hitting collection of songs, said to reflect a Hard Bop Jazz style, that differs from most of the work that Green is known for.

2010 Music Matters reissue
Solid initially was released with five tracks, “Minor League”, “Ezz-Thetic”, “Grant’s Tune”, “Solid” and “The Kicker”. When it was remastered and reissued for CD, it was appended to include “Wives And Lovers” by Burt Bacharach. The exact same version of this song is also included on Matador. Duke Pearson’s “Minor League” opens the album with an upbeat swing propelled by Elvin Jones’ drumming, Green’s melodically crisp guitar solo lines, which trades off between horn section solos and piano solos, all the while it is held down by Crenshaw’s steady smooth bass lines. “Ezz-Thetic” is said to be an experimental piece with Jazz modal scale stylings from Green, “Grant’s Tune” is the only original composition he has on this release, but this song like Sonny Rollins “Solid”, are deep rooted in Blues. Joe Henderson’s “The Kicker” ends the album in an upbeat and inviting fashion. This song was also found on Bobby Hutcherson’s The Kicker released in 1963, which Green played on as a session guitarist. Green’s version while recorded in 1964 would not be heard until Solid’s posthumous release in 1979.

During his time as a Jazz guitarist comparisons were made between Green and another Jazz guitarist known as Wes Montgomery. While both obviously had technical skill and ability, Green’s style of play has often been said to have been more melodic and crisp and as mentioned previously, rooted in Blues. Grant Green was said to have also played a green guitar, wore a green suit, and even drove a green cadillac, playing into his namesake. Green passed away due to a heart attack on his way to a gig on January 31st, 1979. In addition to his notable Blue Note recordings, his later Funk and Soul inspired recordings are also noteworthy especially 1972’s soundtrack The Final Comedown. Matador along with Solid may not have been heard during Green’s lifetime, but are now seen as some of his most interesting early work recorded for the Blue Note label. They are an example of what was in turn a formative influence on Jazz guitar music put forth by Green.

The Play List:

1. A.C. Reed - I Got Money To Burn (I’d Rather Fight Than Switch/I Got Money To Burn Single - 1963)
2. Thunderbirds – Thunderbird Twist (Jerk Boom! Bam! Vol.5 - 2012)
3. Irma Thomas – I Did My Part (It’s Raining/I Did My Part Single - 1962)
4. Mable King – Go Back Home Young Fella (Go Back Home Young Fella/Lefty Single - 1962)
5. Bo Diddley – Mr. Custer (Live) (Bo Diddley’s Beach Party - 1963)
6. Andre Williams - Goin’ Down To Tia Juana (Goin' Down To Tia Juana/Pulling Time Single - 1955)
7. The Five Dollars – That’s The Way It Goes (Nolan Strong & The Diablos Meet The Five Dollars - From The Beginning To Now - 1963)
8. Nolan Strong & The Diablos – Jump, Shake and Move (Daddy Rock - 1963)
9. Joe Weaver & His Blue Note Orchestra – 1540 Special (Baby I Love You So - 2000)
10. Tinariwen - Timadirt in Sahara (Emmaar - 2014)
11. Mikey Dread - Saturday Night Style (African Anthem (The Mikey Dread Show Dubwise) - 1979)
12 Clancy Eccles All Stars – Bangarang Crash (Trojan Singles Box Set - 1999)
13 Ray Charles – I Wonder Who (Up On The Roof: Gems From The Atlantic Vaults 1961-1962 - 2013)
14. Carla Thomas – Wish Me Good Luck (Up On The Roof: Gems From The Atlantic Vaults 1961-1962 - 2013)
15 Gladys Knight & The Pips - Room In Your Heart (Every Beat Of My Heart/Room In Your Heart Single - 1961)
16 Prince La La – She Put The Hurt On Me (She Put The Hurt On Me/Don’t Know You Little Girl (I’m In Love) Single - 1961)
17. The Rollers – Troubles (Jerk Boom! Bam! Vol.7 - 2013)
18 Elaquent - The Little Things You Do (Green Apples And Oranges - 2014)
19 Tappa Zukie - Pick up The Rocker (From The Archives - 1995)
20 Chuck Berry - Let It Rock (Live Walled Lake Casino, Detroit, Michigan 1963)(You Never Can Tell: The Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966 - 2009)
21. Chuck Berry – Almost Grown (Live Walled Lake Casino, Detroit, Michigan October 1963)You Never Can Tell: The Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966 - 2009)
22. John Lee - Alabama Boogie (Alabama Boogie - 1951)
23 Grant Green – Minor League (Solid - 1979)
24 Grant Green – Grant’s Tune (Solid - 1979)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 18. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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