Jimmy Giuffre

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James Peter Giuffre (born April 26, 1921 in Dallas , Texas , † April 24, 2008 in Pittsfield , Massachusetts ) was an American jazz composer and arranger . He played the saxophone and clarinet .

life and work

He had his first success as an arranger for Woody Hermans Big Band , for which he also wrote the famous jazz standard " Four Brothers " (1947). Throughout his career he wrote other creative and unusual arrangements.

He was a member of Shorty Rogers ' bands before starting out as a soloist. Giuffre played both the clarinet and tenor and baritone saxophones, but then concentrated on the clarinet. His style is distinctive, and some of his early music was classified as cool jazz . Music by Lester Young was often used for comparison, as it was apparently most similar to his own. In 1954 he played in a trio with Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers ( The Three and The Two ); In 1955 he was a founding member of the Shelly Manne & His Men formation .

Jimmy Giuffres first trio consisted of him and guitarist Jim Hall and double bassist Ralph Peña (later Jim Atlas ) and achieved a minor hit in 1957 when Giuffres "The Train and the River" was shown in the television special "The Sound of Jazz". When Atlas left the trio, Giuffre replaced him with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer . This unusual instrumentation was inspired by Claude Debussy ; it can be seen in the movie Jazz on a Summer Evening , which was filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival .

In 1961 Guiffre formed a new trio with the pianist Paul Bley and the double bass player Steve Swallow , which also introduced itself in Germany. This group received little attention at the time, but was later regarded by some fans and musicians as one of the most important groups in jazz history. They played free jazz, but not in the loud way like Albert Ayler or Archie Shepp , but rather subdued and comparable to chamber music . In this constellation, which was revived in 1989, the musicians ended up playing completely improvised music.

In the early 1970s he formed another trio with bassist Kiyoshi Tokunaga and drummer Randy Kaye . Giuffre added other instruments to his repertoire, including bass flute and soprano saxophone . A later group with Pete Levin on the synthesizer and the electric bassist Bob Nieske instead of Tokunaga recorded three albums for the Italian label "Soul Note". Also during the 1970s Giuffre taught at New York University .

In the 1990s he recorded with Joe McPhee . He later taught at the New England Conservatory of Music . As a composer, he "ambitiously combined jazz and serious music in his works" .; he wrote concerts for clarinet and string orchestra, but also wrote film music.

Giuffre suffered from Parkinson's disease and therefore ended the active part of his career in 1993. He died two days before his 87th birthday in 2008.


“The three LPs that this ensemble [Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley and Steve Swallow] recorded in 1961 and 1962 are among the most beautiful documents of free music apart from the ecstasy and drama of free jazz. […] And finally the long unrecognized jazz chamber music of Jimmy Giuffre was [still] […] honored, […] [namely as] an extremely original variant of chamber jazz , and a quiet, European-colored alternative to the more dramatic concepts musical freedom, as it brought the sixties. "

Rolling Stone magazine selected the 1961 album Fusion in its list of The 100 Best Jazz Albums at number 46. Thesis came in at number 83, and Free Fall at number 93.

Discography (selection)

The years mostly indicate the time of admission.

  • 1955 Tangents in Jazz (Capitol)
  • 1956 The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet (Atlantic)
  • 1956 The Jimmy Giuffre 3 (Atlantic) with Jim Hall , Ralph Peña
  • 1958 Hollywood & Newport, 1957–1958 (Fresh Sound) with Jim Hall, Ralph Peña, Bob Brookmeyer
  • 1958 Trav'lin 'Light (Atlantic) with Jim Hall, Bob Brookmeyer
  • 1958 Western Suite (Atlantic) with Jim Hall, Bob Brookmeyer
  • 1959 Seven Pieces (Verve) with Jim Hall, Red Mitchell
  • 1959 The Easy Way (Verve) with Jim Hall, Ray Brown
  • 1961 Fusion and Thesis (both Verve) with Paul Bley , Steve Swallow , ECM as a double CD titled 1992 Jimmy Giuffre 3, 1961 published
  • 1961 Emphasis, Stuttgart 1961 ; Flight, Bremen 1961 (both hatART) with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow
  • 1963 Free Fall (Columbia, now Sony) with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow; 1998 in the list "100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One What Listening)" by The Wire added
  • 1965 New York Concerts: The Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4 (ed. 2014)
  • 1972 Music for People, Birds, Butterflies and Mosquitos (Choice) with Kiyoshi Tokunaga , Randy Kaye
  • 1974 Quiet Song (Improvising Artists) with Paul Bley, Bill Connors
  • 1975 River Chant (Choice) with Kiyoshi Tokunaga, Randy Kaye
  • 1975 Giuffre, Konitz, Connors, Bley (Improvising Artists) with Paul Bley, Lee Konitz , Bill Connors
  • 1983 Dragonfly (Soul Note) with Pete Levin , Bob Nieske , Randy Kaye
  • 1985 Quasar (Soul Note) with Pete Levin, Bob Nieske, Randy Kaye
  • 1987 Eiffel (CELP) with André Jaume
  • 1988 Momentum, Willisau 1988 with André Jaume
  • 1989 The Life of a Trio: Saturday and Sunday (OWL) with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow
  • 1989 Liquid Dancers (Soul Note) with Pete Levin, Bob Nieske, Randy Kaye
  • 1991 River Station (CELP) with André Jaume
  • 1992 Fly Away Little Bird (OWL) with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow
  • 1993 Conversations with a Goose (Soul Note) with Paul Bley, Steve Swallow



Individual evidence

  1. “Above all, this avant-garde trio, which stood for true ensemble playing and atonal improvisation, made it clear that Giuffte questioned the tyranny of the constant beat; his music temporarily replaced the continuously audible beat with a tactile beat. ”- Jazz Podium 6/2008, p. 43
  2. Jazz Podium 6/2008, p. 43
  3. ^ Peter Niklas Wilson: Jimmy Giuffre. In: jazz classics. 2 vols. Edited by Peter Niklas Wilson. Reclam, Stuttgart 2005 ( RUB ), ISBN 3-15-030030-4 , Vol. 1, pp. 313-320, here 319f.
  4. Rolling Stone: The 100 Best Jazz Albums . Retrieved November 16, 2016.

Web links