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Jimmy Giuffre

Jimmy Giuffre

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Encyclopedia
James Peter Giuffre was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

 and saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

 player, composer and arranger. He is notable for his development of forms of jazz which allowed for free interplay between the musicians, anticipating forms of free improvisation.

Biography


Born in Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, of Italian ancestry, Giuffre was a graduate of Dallas Technical High School and North Texas State Teachers College (University of North Texas College of Music
University of North Texas College of Music
The University of North Texas College of Music, based in Denton, is a comprehensive music school with the largest enrollment of any music institution accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and the oldest in the world offering a degree in jazz studies...

). He first became known as an arranger
Orchestration
Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

 for Woody Herman
Woody Herman
Woodrow Charles Herman , known as Woody Herman, was an American jazz clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd," Herman was one of the most popular of the 1930s and '40s bandleaders...

's big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

, for which he wrote the celebrated "Four Brothers" (1947). He would continue to write creative, unusual arrangements throughout his career. He was a central figure in West coast jazz
West coast jazz
West Coast jazz refers to various styles of jazz music that developed around Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1950s. West Coast jazz is often seen as a sub-genre of cool jazz, which featured a less frenetic, calmer style than bebop or hard bop. The music tended to be more heavily arranged,...

, cool jazz
Cool jazz
Cool is a style of modern jazz music that arose following the Second World War. It is characterized by its relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the bebop style that preceded it...

, He became a member of Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All Stars in 1951 as a full time All Star along with Shorty Rogers and Shelly Manne. The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach CA became the focal point of West Coast Jazz in the 1952/1953 time period. It was during this time when he collaborated with Shorty on many of the successful charts written for the All Stars. The first recording released by the LHAS was a not so WCJ chart named Big Boy which he and Shorty had put together. It became an instant hit with the local LA community. He left the LHAS in September of 1953 and was a member of Shorty Rogers and His Giants before going solo. Giuffre played clarinet, as well as tenor and baritone saxophones, but eventually focused on clarinet.

His first trio consisted of Giuffre, guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

ist Jim Hall
Jim Hall (musician)
James Stanley Hall is an American jazz guitarist.-Biography:Educated at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Hall moved to Los Angeles where he began to attract national, and then international, attention in the late 1950s...

 and double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

ist Ralph Pena (later replaced by Jim Atlas). They had a minor hit in 1957 when Giuffre's "The Train and the River" was featured on the television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 special The Sound of Jazz
The Sound of Jazz
"The Sound of Jazz" is a 1957 edition of the CBS television series Seven Lively Arts, and was one of the first major programmes featuring jazz to air on American network television....

. This trio explored what Giuffre dubbed "blues-based folk jazz". This same special matched Giuffre with fellow clarinetist Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell
Charles Ellsworth Russell, much better known by his nickname Pee Wee Russell, was a jazz musician. Early in his career he played clarinet and saxophones, but eventually focused solely on clarinet....

 for a leisurely jam session simply titled "Blues".

When Atlas left the trio, Giuffre replaced him with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer
Bob Brookmeyer
Robert Brookmeyer is an American jazz valve trombonist, pianist, arranger, and composer.-Biography:Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Brookmeyer first gained widespread public attention as a member of Gerry Mulligan's quartet from 1954 to 1957. He later worked with Jimmy Giuffre...

. This unusual instrumentation was partly inspired by Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

. The group can be seen performing "The Train and the River" in the film Jazz on a Summer's Day
Jazz on a Summer's Day
Jazz on a Summer's Day is a documentary film set at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, and filmed and directed by noted commercial and fashion photographer Bert Stern and the film director Aram Avakian , who also edited the movie...

filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival
Newport Jazz Festival
The Newport Jazz Festival is a music festival held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. It was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the...



In 1961, Giuffre formed a new trio with piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 player Paul Bley
Paul Bley
Paul Bley, CM is a pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing.-Biography:...

 and double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

ist Steve Swallow
Steve Swallow
Steve Swallow is a jazz double bass and bass guitarist and composer born in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.One of the leading bassists in jazz, Swallow is noted for collaborations with Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton and Carla Bley...

. This group received little attention while active, but were later cited by some fans and musicians as among the most important groups in jazz history. They explored free jazz
Free jazz
Free jazz is an approach to jazz music that was first developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Though the music produced by free jazz pioneers varied widely, the common feature was a dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, which had developed in the 1940s and 1950s...

 not in the loud, aggressive mode of Albert Ayler
Albert Ayler
Albert Ayler was an American avant-garde jazz saxophonist, singer and composer.Ayler was among the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s; critic John Litweiler wrote that "never before or since has there been such naked aggression in jazz" He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved...

 or Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp is a prominent African-American jazz saxophonist. Shepp is best known for his passionately Afrocentric music of the late 1960s, which focused on highlighting the injustices faced by the African-Americans, as well as for his work with the New York Contemporary Five, Horace Parlan, and...

, but with a hushed, quiet focus more resembling chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

. The trio's explorations of melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

, harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 and rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

 are still as striking and radical as any in jazz. Thom Jurek has written that this trio's recordings are "one of the most essential documents regarding the other side of early-'60s jazz."

Giuffre, Bley and Swallow eventually explored wholly improvised music, several years ahead of the free improvisation
Free improvisation
Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right....

 boom in Europe. Jurek writes that Free Fall
Free Fall (Jimmy Giuffre album)
-Track listing:All tracks written by Jimmy Giuffre#Propulsion - 3:08#Three We - 4:13#Ornothoids - 2:46#Dichotomy - 4:00#Man Alone - 2:20#Spasmodic - 3:29#Yggdrasill - 2:34#Divided Man - 1:56#Primordial Call - 3:26#The Five Ways - 2:20...

,
their final record, "was such radical music, no one, literally no one, was ready for it and the group disbanded shortly thereafter on a night when they made only 35 cents apiece for a set."

In the early 1970s, Giuffre formed a new trio with bassist Kiyoshi Tokunaga and drummer Randy Kaye. Giuffre added instruments including bass flute and soprano saxophone to his arsenal. A later group included Pete Levin
Pete Levin
Pete Levin is a jazz keyboardist, composer, and horn player with a 15-year association with the Gil Evans Orchestra and an 8-year association with Jimmy Giuffre. As a bandleader, he produced the album Deacon Blues in 2007...

 playing synthesizer and replaced Tokunaga with electric bassist Bob Nieske. This group recorded three albums for the Italian Soul Note
Black Saint/Soul Note
Black Saint and Soul Note are two affiliated Italian jazz independent record labels. Since their conception in the 1970s, they have released albums from a variety of influential jazz musicians, particularly in the genre of free jazz.-History:...

 label.

During the 1970s, Giuffre was hired by New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 to head its jazz ensemble, and to teach private lessons in saxophone and music composition.

Into the 1990s, Giuffre continued teaching and performing. He recorded with Joe McPhee
Joe McPhee
Joe McPhee is an American jazz multi-instrumentalist born in Miami, Florida, a player of tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, the trumpet, flugelhorn and valve trombone...

, and revived the trio with Bley and Swallow (though Swallow had switched to bass guitar, giving the group a different sound). Through the mid 1990s Giuffre taught at the New England Conservatory of Music
New England Conservatory of Music
The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest independent school of music in the United States.The conservatory is home each year to 750 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies along with 1400 more in its Preparatory School as well as the School of...

. He suffered from Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

 and in his last years he no longer performed. Giuffre died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Pittsfield is the largest city and the county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. Its area code is 413. Its ZIP code is 01201...

, on April 24, 2008, two days short of his 87th birthday.

As leader

  • 1955: Jimmy Giuffre (Capitol)
  • 1955: Tangents In Jazz (Capitol)
  • 1956: The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet (Atlantic)
  • 1956: The Jimmy Giuffre 3
    Jimmy Giuffre 3
    -Track listing:#"Gotta Dance" - 2:29#"Two Kinds of Blues" - 5:10#"The Song Is You" - 3:52#"Crazy She Calls Me" - 5:14#"Voodoo" - 2:48#"My All" - 4:09#"That's the Way It Is" - 3:45...

    (Atlantic)
  • 1958: The Music Man (Atlantic)
  • 1958: The Four Brothers Sound (Atlantic)
  • 1958: Trav'lin' Light
    Trav'lin' Light (Jimmy Giuffre 3 album)
    -Track listing:#"Trav'lin' Light" - #"The Swamp People" - #"The Green Country" - #"42nd Street" - #"Pickin' 'Em Up and Layin' 'Em Down" - #"The Lonely Time" -...

     (Atlantic)
  • 1958: Western Suite (Atlantic)
  • 1959: 7 Pieces (Verve)
  • 1959: The Easy Way (Verve)
  • 1959: Ad Lib (Verve)
  • 1959: Piece For Clarinet And String Orchestra/Mobiles (Verve)
  • 1960: Jimmy Giuffre Quartet Live in 1960 [Jazz Beat]
  • 1961: Fusion
    Fusion (album)
    Fusion is a 1961 album by the Jimmy Giuffre 3.The trio on the recording was Giuffre's second drummerless group. He said at the time that the trio was "searching for a free sense of tonality and form"...

    (Verve)
  • 1961: Thesis
    Thesis (album)
    Thesis is a 1961 album by the Jimmy Giuffre 3.-Track listing:#"Ictus" #"That's True, That's True" #"Sonic" #"Whirrrr" #"Carla" #"Goodbye" #"Flight" #"The Gamut"...

    (Verve)
  • 1961: 1961 (ECM) This is a re-issue of Fusion and Thesis, above on the ECM label
  • 1961: Emphasis & Flight 1961 (hatOLOGY) 11/61
  • 1962: Free Fall
    Free Fall (Jimmy Giuffre album)
    -Track listing:All tracks written by Jimmy Giuffre#Propulsion - 3:08#Three We - 4:13#Ornothoids - 2:46#Dichotomy - 4:00#Man Alone - 2:20#Spasmodic - 3:29#Yggdrasill - 2:34#Divided Man - 1:56#Primordial Call - 3:26#The Five Ways - 2:20...

    (Columbia) 1962
  • 1965: Olympia 23 Fevrier 1960-27 Fevrier 1965 (Laserlight) 2/60 & 2/65
  • 1971: Night Dance (Choice) 11/71
  • 1973: Music For People, Birds, Butterflies and Mosquitos (Choice)
  • 1974: Quiet Song (Improvising Artists
    Improvising Artists
    -Discography:...

    )
  • 1975: River Chant (Choice)
  • 1975: The Train And The River (Candid Choice) 4/75
  • 1975: Mosquito Dance (DJM)
  • 1978: IAI Festival (Improvising Artists)
  • 1983: Dragonfly (Soul Note)
  • 1985: Quasar (Soul Note)
  • 1989: The Life Of A Trio: Saturday - with Steve Swallow
    Steve Swallow
    Steve Swallow is a jazz double bass and bass guitarist and composer born in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.One of the leading bassists in jazz, Swallow is noted for collaborations with Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton and Carla Bley...

    , Paul Bley
    Paul Bley
    Paul Bley, CM is a pianist known for his contributions to the free jazz movement of the 1960s as well as his innovations and influence on trio playing.-Biography:...

  • 1991: Liquid Dancers (Soul Note)
  • 1991: Eiffel/River Station/Momentum: Willisau, 1988 (CELP/26/hatOLOGY) 11/87, 9/91
  • 1992: Fly Away Little Bird (Owl) 6/92
  • 1996: Conversations with a Goose (Soul Note)
  • 2009: The Swamp People (Giant Steps)

As sideman

  • Bob Brookmeyer Traditionalism Revisited (World Pacific)
  • Teddy Charles The Teddy Charles Tentet (Atlantic)
  • The Modern Jazz Quartet - At Music Inn, Guest Artist Jimmy Giuffre (Atlantic)
  • Anita O'Day - Cool Heat (Verve)
  • Anita O'Day - Pick Yourself Up (Verve)
  • Various - Collaboration West (Prestige)
  • Herb Ellis - Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre (Verve)
  • Herb Ellis - Ellis In Wonderland (Verve)
  • Lee Konitz - Lee Konitz Meets Jimmy Giuffre (Verve)
  • Shelly Manne - The West Coast Sound (Contemporary)
  • Shelly Manne - The Three And The Two (Contemporary)
  • Shorty Rogers - Shorty Rogers & his Giants (RCA)
  • Shorty Rogers - The Big Shorty Rogers Express (RCA)
  • Shorty Rogers - Cool&Crazy (RCA)
  • Shorty Rogers - The Swinging Mr Rogers (Atlantic)
  • Shorty Rogers - Martians Come Back (Atlantic)
  • Shorty Rogers - Way up There (Atlantic)
  • Shorty Rogers - The Swinging Nutracker (Atlantic)
  • Howard Rumsey - Sunday Jazz A La Lighthouse (Contemporary)
  • Sonny Stitt - Sonny Stitt Plays Jimmy Giuffre

External links