John Graas

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John Jacob Graas (* 14. October 1924 in Dubuque , Iowa ; † 13. April 1962 in Van Nuys , California ) was an American jazz - horn player , arranger and composer . It was his merit to have introduced the French horn as a solo instrument in modern jazz together with Dave Amram .

Live and act

Graas won a national competition as a schoolboy. He studied in Tanglewood , where he was also a member of the orchestra directed by Sergei Kussewitzky . In 1941/42 he played in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and in 1942 with Claude Thornhill . During his military service from 1943 to 1945, he was a member of an army band, but also performed as a French horn soloist in the White House . He was then a member of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra , played with Tex Beneke in 1947/48 and with Stan Kenton in 1949/50 .

Then Graas, who had also studied privately with Lennie Tristano and Shorty Rogers , worked in Hollywood from 1950 as a studio musician, teacher and above all as a composer for film scores. From 1953 a number of albums were created under his own name, such as Jazz Studio Four , Jazz Lab , Coup De Graas and Jazzmantics! , where renowned West Coast musicians like Milt Bernhart , Conte Candoli , Herb Geller , Jimmy Giuffre , Shelly Manne , Jack Montrose , Red Norvo , André Previn , Marty Paich , Zoot Sims Gerald Wiggins and Hank Jones played. He also wrote compositions that count towards the third stream , such as Jazz Symphony No. 1 and Jazz Chaconne No. 1 . He preferred contrapuntal structures and formal models of the European tradition. His Jazz Symphony No. 1 was recorded under his direction in Stuttgart in 1956 with musicians from the Erwin Lehn orchestra and the Südwestfunk Symphony Orchestra (first published in 1958 as an international premiere in jazz ).

He has also made recordings with Kenton, Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan , Louie Bellson , Pete Rugolo and Bob Cooper . Graas was the 1955 Down Beat Poll winner in the various instruments category . In 1962 he died of a heart attack .

Discographic notes

  • Jazz Studio 1/2 (Lonehill Jazz, 1953/54)
  • Jazz Lab, Vol. 1 & 2 (Lonehill, Jazz1955-57)
  • Jazzmantics (Lonehill, 1956/57)
  • International Premiere in Jazz (West Coast All Star Ninett & German Festival Symphony Orchestra) ( Andex / Fresh Sound, 1956)
  • Coup De Graas (Emarcy, 1957)
  • John Graas Octet (based on Jimmy Giuffre - The Complete 1947-1953 Small Group Recordings, Vol. 3 ) (Blue Moon)
  • Westlake Bounce ( Fresh Sound Records , 1957)

As a sideman

  • Gerry Mulligan: The Birth of the Cool, Vol. 2 (Capitol, 1953); Modern Sounds (Affinity, 1951)
  • Henry Mancini: The Blues And The Beat (Fresh Sound, 1960)
  • Shorty Rogers: Short Stops (RCA, 1954)
  • Pete Rugolo: Adventures In Rhythm (CBS / Fresh Sound, 1954)
  • West Coast All Stars: Best From The West (Blue Note, 1954,55) with Conte Candoli, Jimmy Giuffre

Lexical entries

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. portrait
  2. cit. according to Kunzler