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Al Grey

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  • Born: Aldie, VA
  • Died: Phoenix, AZ
  • Years Active: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Al Grey's trademark phrases and often humorous use of the plunger mute long made him quite distinctive. After getting out of the service, he was with the orchestras of Benny Carter (1945-1946), Jimmie Lunceford (1946-1947), Lucky Millinder, and Lionel Hampton (off and on during 1948-1953). Grey was a well-featured soloist with the classic Dizzy Gillespie globetrotting orchestra during 1956-1957 (taking an exciting solo at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival on a blazing version of "Cool Breeze"). He was with Count Basie's orchestra on three separate occasions (1957-1961, 1964-1966, and 1971-1977), led a band with Billy Mitchell in the early '60s, and had a group with Jimmy Forrest after leaving Basie in 1977. In later years, Grey performed and recorded often with Clark Terry, made a CD with the Statesmen of Jazz, and for a time led a quintet that featured his son Mike Grey on second trombone. Al Grey recorded as a leader for Argo (1959-1964), Tangerine, Black & Blue, Stash, Chiaroscuro, and Capri, and co-led an excellent Pablo date in 1983 with J.J. Johnson. He died of complications from diabetes on March 24, 2000.

eMusic Features

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The Not Necessarily Happy Horns of Clark Terry

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

Can a musician's reputation be harmed by the persistent paying of a compliment? Clark Terry has a warm, plump, utterly distinctive sound on trumpet and its chubby pal the flugelhorn. He's rhythmically assured at any tempo, and has a deep feeling for the blues. But some writers fixate on how he has "the happiest sound in jazz," as if one trait defines his art. To be fair, it's not a rep he's run away from, having… more »