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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
This languid, seductive gem may well be Grant Green's greatest moment on record. Right from the opening bars of the classic title cut, Idle Moments is immediately ingratiating and accessible, featuring some of Green's most stylish straight jazz playing. Whether he's running warm (pianist Duke Pearson's "Idle Moments"), cool (the Modern Jazz Quartet's "Django"), or a bit more up-tempo (Pearson's "Nomad," his own "Jean de Fleur"), Green treats the material with the graceful elegance that was the hallmark of his best hard bop sessions, and that quality achieves its fullest expression here. He's helped by an ensemble that, as a sextet, is slightly larger and fuller-sounding than usual, and there's plenty of room for solo explorations on the four extended pieces. Pearson's touch on the piano is typically warm, while two players best known on Blue Note for their modernist dates mellow out a bit -- the cool shimmer of Bobby Hutcherson's vibes is a marvelously effective addition to the atmosphere, while Joe Henderson plays with a husky, almost Ike Quebec-like breathiness. That cushion of support helps spur Green to some of the loveliest, most intimate performances of his career -- no matter what the tempo, it's as if his guitar is whispering secrets in your ear. It's especially true on the dreamy title track, though: a gorgeous, caressing, near-15-minute excursion that drifts softly along like a warm, starry summer night. Even more than the two-disc set The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark, Idle Moments is the essential first Green purchase, and some of the finest guitar jazz of the hard bop era. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Grant Green's third album to be released, Grantstand teams the clear-toned guitarist with an unlikely backing group of musicians who rarely appeared with Blue Note otherwise: tenor saxophonist Yusef Lateef (who doubles on flute), organist Brother Jack McDuff, and drummer Al Harewood. Although Lateef was beginning to delve deeply into Eastern tonalities and instruments around the same time, his playing here is pretty straightforward and swinging, fitting the relaxed, bop-tinged soul-jazz that makes up most of the session. For his part, McDuff is mellower than his usual ferocious self, laying back and swinging with a blissful ease. Green contributes two bluesy originals, the nine-minute title track and the 15-minute "Blues in Maude's Flat," which are turned into loose, loping jams that rank as some of the best examples of Green's ability to work an extended groove. (The CD bonus track, "Green's Greenery," is in much the same vein, though not as long.) Elsewhere, Green leads a delicate, sensitive exploration of "My Funny Valentine" that ended up as his greatest standard performance to date, setting the stage for a great deal more work in this vein that was soon to be forthcoming (including his brilliant sessions with Sonny Clark). Still, the groove is what reigns supreme for most of the album; if you're looking for Green the soul-jazz groovemaster, Grantstand is an excellent place to find him. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | EMI Music Special Markets

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1985 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Although Grant Green provided his share of groove-oriented soul-jazz and modal post-bop, his roots were hard bop, and it is in a bop-oriented setting that the guitarist excels on Born to Be Blue. Most of the material on this five-star album was recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio on December 11, 1961, when Green was joined by tenor titan Ike Quebec, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Louis Hayes. Tragically, Quebec was near the end of his life -- the distinctive saxman died of lung cancer at the age of 44 on January 16, 1963 -- but there is no evidence of Quebec's declining health on Born to Be Blue. He was playing as authoritatively as ever well into 1962, and the saxman is in fine form on hard-swinging interpretations of "Someday My Prince Will Come" and Al Jolson's "Back in Your Own Back Yard." It's interesting to hear Quebec playing bop, for his big, breathy tone was right out of swing and was greatly influenced by Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. Although Quebec and Green (who was 14 years younger) had very different musical backgrounds, they were always quite compatible musically. They clearly enjoyed a strong rapport on the uptempo selections as well as ballads like "My One and Only Love" and Mel Torme's "Born to Be Blue." Originally a vinyl LP, this album was reissued on CD in 1989, when Blue Note added an alternate take of the title song and a previously unreleased version of Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues." © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 11, 1980 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

This is a great album with the classic synergy of Green and pianist Sonny Clark, who along with Sam Jones on bass and Art Blakey complete the quartet. This album was also released on The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Grant Green and Sonny Clark. Just classic Green. © Michael Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Blue Note Records

Mosaic released a four-disc box set titled The Complete Blue Note With Sonny Clark in 1991, rounding up everything that the guitarist and pianist recorded together between 1961 and 1962. Blue Note's 1997 version of the set, The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark, trims Mosaic's collection by two discs, offering only the quartet sessions (the Ike Quebec sessions, Born to Be Blue and Blue and Sentimental, are available on individual discs). In some ways, this actually results in a more unified set, since it puts Green and Clark directly in the spotlight, with no saxophone to complete for solos, but it doesn't really matter if the music is presented as this double-disc set, the four-disc box, or the individual albums -- this is superb music, showcasing the guitarist and pianist at their very best. All of the sessions are straight-ahead bop but the music has a gentle, relaxed vibe that makes it warm, intimate, and accessible. Grant and Clark's mastery is subtle -- the music is so enjoyable, you may not notice the deftness of their improvisation and technique -- but that invests the music with the grace, style, and emotion that distinguishes The Complete Quartets. Small group hard bop rarely comes any better than this. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1970 | Blue Note Records

Alive! is the hardest funk LP Grant Green recorded during the later phase of his career, capturing a storming gig at Newark's Cliché Lounge. The sweaty club atmosphere adds something to the music that's difficult to pin down, yet unmistakably present -- a certain organic quality that isn't as noticeable on Green's studio albums of the time. Moreover, Green sounds more like the captain of his ship, with greater assurance in his musical direction and more strut on the R&B material. Drummer Idris Muhammad is a monster in this live setting, and he helps push Green (plus the rest of the band, which includes organist Ronnie Foster) even farther with his kinetic, continually evolving funk rhythms. That's especially true on the swaggering Kool & the Gang cover "Let the Music Take Your Mind," but Don Covay's "Sookie, Sookie" grooves almost as powerfully. What's most surprising about the set, though, is that Green finds ways to work in bits of the modal style he had been pursuing in the mid-'60s on slower pieces like the Earl Neal Creque ballad "Time to Remember" and "Down Here on the Ground," which was later sampled by jazz-rap pioneers A Tribe Called Quest. Green's continued interest in modal jazz is reinforced on the CD reissue, which contains a spacy, grooving cover of Herbie Hancock's classic "Maiden Voyage" as a bonus track (the other two are contemporary R&B covers "Hey, Western Union Man" and "It's Your Thing"). Still, this is the most convincing and consistent Green had been as a funkster and, while nearly all of his albums from the early '70s feature at least some worthwhile material for acid jazz and beat-sampling junkies, Alive! is probably the best place to start. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Blue Note Records

The second album of Grant Green's thorough jazz-funk makeover, Green Is Beautiful finds the guitarist growing more comfortable with harder, funkier R&B than he seemed on the softer-hued Carryin' On. The switch from Fender Rhodes electric piano back to the more traditional Hammond organ certainly helps give the session a little extra grit, but it doesn't return Green to the land of soul-jazz by any means. Green Is Beautiful is still explicitly commercial and accessible to non-jazz audiences, and (purist objections notwithstanding) that's not necessarily a bad thing. Green's take on James Brown's "Ain't It Funky Now" is one of the funkiest items in his rare-groove period; it may be chordally very simple, but the groove is tight and percolating, and Green, tenor saxophonist Claude Bartee, and trumpeter Blue Mitchell all come up with hot, exciting solos. The album also benefits from Green's discovery of composer and occasional organist Earl Neal Creque, who contributes two bright, slinky, horn-driven originals: "The Windjammer," which became one of the signature tunes of Green's late period, and "Dracula." They help give the album a more original voice, and indicate that Green was actively making himself at home in his new musical environment, not just mixing dull originals with phoned-in covers of pop and R&B hits (as he and many other '70s Blue Note artists were accused of doing). Of course, there are still pop covers present -- the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" is a mellow, mid-tempo groove, and Bacharach's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" doesn't stray far from the melody. Even if those aren't particularly distinctive, the remainder of Green Is Beautiful proves that Green's reinvention as a jazz-funk artist wasn't the misguided disaster it was initially made out to be. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

Simply put, this is a very decent four-disc collection of the work of guitarist Grant Green. It features tracks from his many albums as a leader and some as a sideman with others, such as Lee Morgan, John Patton, Baby Face Willette, and Sonny Clark. His early-'60s sides are here along with most of his defining cuts from the '60s, from hard bop to soul-jazz to ballads to gospel -- everything most fans would ever want is here, including his late blues sides recorded in the bars of Detroit in 1970. While Green's own albums can never be replaced, this is a solid portrait of one of the most influential jazz guitarists in history. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Blue Note Records

Some of Grant Green's hottest moments as a jazz-funk bandleader came on his live records of the era, which were filled with extended, smoking grooves and gritty ensemble interplay. Live at the Lighthouse makes a fine companion piece to the excellent Alive!, though there are some subtle differences which give the album its own distinct flavor. For starters, the average track length is even greater, with four of the six jams clocking in at over 12 minutes. That makes it easy to get lost in the grooves as the musicians ride and work them over. What's more, the rhythmic foundation of the group is noticeably altered. Live at the Lighthouse is one of the few Green albums of the period not to feature loose-limbed funky drummer Idris Muhammad, and his spare, booming sound and direct James Brown inspiration give way to the busy, bubbling, frequently up-tempo polyrhythms of drummer Greg Williams and extra percussionist Bobbye Porter Hall. They push the rest of the group to cook up a storm on tracks like "Windjammer" (which is taken at a madly up-tempo pace compared to the version on Green Is Beautiful), Donald Byrd's modal piece "Fancy Free" (which features some of Green's best soloing of the date), and organist Shelton Laster's soulful original "Flood in Franklin Park." Laster winds up as probably the most impassioned soloist, breaking out of the pocket for some spiralling, hard-swinging flights. For his part, Green works the grooves with the ease of a soul-jazz veteran used to the concept. The results make Live at the Lighthouse one of his best, most organic jazz-funk outings. [The CD reissue excises four spoken DJ intros from the original double LP in order to fit all the music on one disc.] © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Grant Green's fourth album, Sunday Mornin', was the first time Green recorded (as a leader) with a piano instead of an organ. Joined by pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Ben Dixon, Green makes Sunday Mornin' less of a soul-jazz session than his previous work, instead turning in a solid -- if not quite exceptional -- set of modal hard bop and laid-back grooves. Pianist Drew's sparse chording leaves plenty of room for Green's lilting tones to ring out, and since Green's approach relies on single-note lines rather than chords, the whole session ends up with a spacious, light feel. Half of the original six tracks are Green originals, including the Martin Luther King-inspired "Freedom March" and the gospel-tinged title track; the others are well-known repertory: "God Bless the Child," Miles Davis' "So What," and Eddie Harris' then-recent hit adaptation of the theme from "Exodus." Green is tasteful and elegant as always, and the results make for an enjoyable addition to his discography, even if there are more distinctive Green albums available. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Blue Note Records

Grant Green recorded so much high-quality music for Blue Note during the first half of the '60s that a number of excellent sessions went unissued at the time. Even so, it's still hard to figure out why 1964's Matador was only released in Japan in 1979, prior to its U.S. CD reissue in 1990 -- it's a classic and easily one of Green's finest albums. In contrast to the soul-jazz and jazz-funk for which Green is chiefly remembered, Matador is a cool-toned, straight-ahead modal workout that features some of Green's most advanced improvisation, even more so than his sessions with Larry Young. Part of the reason for that is that Green is really pushed by his stellar backing unit: pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Elvin Jones. Not only is Green leading a group that features one-half of the classic Coltrane Quartet, but he even takes on Coltrane's groundbreaking arrangement of "My Favorite Things" -- and more than holds his own over ten-plus minutes. In fact, every track on the album is around that length; there are extended explorations of two Green originals ("Green Jeans" and the title track) and Duke Pearson's Middle Eastern-tinged "Bedouin," plus the bonus cut "Wives and Lovers," a swinging Bacharach pop tune not on the Japanese issue. The group interplay is consistently strong, but really the spotlight falls chiefly on Green, whose crystal-clear articulation flourishes in this setting. And, for all of Matador's advanced musicality, it ends up being surprisingly accessible. This sound may not be Green's claim to fame, but Matador remains one of his greatest achievements. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Broadening his musical palette, Grant Green detoured into a number of "theme" sessions in 1962 -- the light Latin jazz of The Latin Bit; the country & western standards of Goin' West; and the best of the bunch, the old-time gospel album Feelin' the Spirit. For Feelin' the Spirit, Green takes five traditional, public-domain African-American spirituals (plus the CD bonus track "Deep River") and gives them convincing jazz treatments in a quartet-plus-tambourine setting. Green's light touch and clear tone match very well with the reverent material, and pianist Herbie Hancock is tremendous in support, serving the needs of the music and nailing the bright gospel style perfectly. Similarly, Green's playing never gets too complicated or loses sight of the melodies, yet he never runs short of ideas -- which goes to show that Feelin' the Spirit is indeed a labor of love. Opening with a jaunty "Just a Closer Walk With Thee," Green and Hancock work up an impassioned gospel fervor on "Go Down Moses," which is loaded with soulful, bluesy tradeoffs. Yet overall, the mood is fairly reflective, with Green's interpretations of "Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," and "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" pointing up the suffering and sorrow behind these standards -- with the implication that suffering still continued into 1962. That's not to say Feelin' the Spirit is a depressing album, though; it's simply infused with the spirit of the blues, which is part of the reason these songs translate so surprisingly well despite their harmonic simplicity. Green, Hancock, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins keep the grooves flowing throughout, making Feelin' the Spirit a rousingly successful experiment. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Blue Note Records

Grant Green's debut album, Grant's First Stand, still ranks as one of his greatest pure soul-jazz outings, a set of killer grooves laid down by a hard-swinging organ trio. For having such a small lineup -- just organist Baby Face Willette and drummer Ben Dixon -- the group cooks up quite a bit of power, really sinking its teeth into the storming up-tempo numbers, and swinging loose and easy on the ballads. The influence of the blues on both Green and Willette is strong and, while that's far and away the dominant flavor of the session, Green also displays his unique bop phrasing (learned by studying horn players' lines, rather than other guitarists) to fine effect on his high-octane opener, "Miss Ann's Tempo," and Willette's "Baby's Minor Lope." Green's original blues "A Wee Bit O'Green" and "Blues for Willarene" are both memorable, particularly the former, and the two standards -- "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do" -- are given smoky treatments soaked in bluesy, late-night atmosphere. Willette and Dixon both supply a tremendous rhythmic drive, and Willette's solos burn with gospel fervor. This same trio performed together on Willette's Stop and Listen album, with equally heated results. None of Green's contemporaries used the single-note style (Green rarely played chords, leaving that to the organ or piano) to quite the same degree, making him a unique voice on his instrument. And his terrific debut pegged him as an up-and-comer to watch closely. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released May 10, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Ain't It Funky Now! is the third of three thematically organized Grant Green compilations in the Blue Note Original Jam Master Series -- all of which focus on his final period recording for the label, between 1969 and 1972. Green was deeply interested in popular Black music in his late period and that is reflected in these seven cuts taken from six different albums. The title track, of course, is the a read of the James Brown classic and also features Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Idris Muhammad on drums, among others. At nearly ten minutes, it's a deep-stretch groove piece with Green's guitar playing gritty and dirty center-stage. Other highlights include "Ease Back," a Meters cover from Green's Carryin' On outing, and a nasty version of the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing," with Chuck Rainey and Muhammad in the rhythm section. The set closes with a decidedly non-funky yet very soulful cover of the Stylistics' "Betcha by Golly Wow" with Wilton Felder on bass, Hall Bobby Porter on congas, and fine soprano and tenor work from Claude Bartee, Jr.. Most Green-o-philes will have all this stuff, but these comps are cheap and sequenced wonderfully. © Thom Jurek /TiVo