Grant Green (1935-1979)
Grant Green was an American jazz guitarist and musical composer. He was born and raised in St. Louis, where he engaged in his first professional performance at age 13 as a member of a gospel ensemble. Green moved to New York City in his mid-20s in hopes of finding a music career. He was known for often performing in a trio with an organ player, a drummer, and himself. In 1959, Lou Donaldson, a famous saxophone player, discovered Green playing in a St. Louis bar and hired him for his tour. With his gaining prevalence, Green worked in the 1960s with Blue Note Records, an American jazz recording label. He performed a variety of musical styles, including hard pop, soul jazz, bebop, and Latin-tinged songs.
Green died in 1979 from a heart attack on tour. Since his death, his reputation has actually grown and he has become known as an ‘unsung hero’ of jazz guitar. Much of Green’s work wasn’t released until recently, after his death. Today, Green is known for his resiliency in starting his music career and his unique, diverse tone behind the guitar.