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Jose Reyes

Gene Ammons and “The Big Sound” is featured

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Oh yes! The great Gene Ammons has arrived and will be featured. There’s plenty of the Bluesy tenor sound of Gene Ammons on Jazz Con Class, including “Groove Blues” which is mentioned in the description below. Although I could have chosen any album of his, The Big Sound will be the one I will feature, this time, here and for a couple of weeks. Of course like many others, not enough has been written about the legend Gene Ammons and played either, so that’s why the listeners tune in here everyday. Check the Schedule link for play times, enjoy!

About the Album:

Digitally remastered by Gary Hobish (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California). THE BIG SOUND is a companion to GROOVE BLUES. Both albums were recorded on a single day in 1958 and feature an impressive array of players. Ammons’ tenor saxophone is joined here by John Coltrane’s alto, Paul Quinichette’s tenor, Pepper Adams’ alto, and Jerome Richardson’s flute. The rhythm section is anchored by the piano of Mal Waldron. The set opens with the slow blues “Blue Hymn,” an Ammons original. Waldron’s “The Real McCoy” then kicks things into higher gear with an excitingly propulsive arrangement. The massed horns state the tune’s main theme before breaking off into furious soloing. Likewise, Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” swings at a clip at once laid back and relentless. As with GROOVE BLUES, the album closes with a ballad, the song form forever linked with Ammons. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on January 3, 1958…….Read More

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Biography of Gene Ammons:

Called by some, “the soul of Chicago tenor saxophony,” Gene “Jug” Ammons was a legendary, but under-appreciated jazz tenor saxophonist known for his big, bluesy, soulful tone. He had the rare ability to capture a listener’s heart with an incredibly, emotional ballad while also having the flexibility to play bebop and swing with the best of them. Ammons’ expressive and heartfelt phrasing and the ability to say “more with less” makes his ballads among the most beautiful ever recorded.

Ammons was born April 14, 1925, in Chicago, Ill., the son of the great boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. Gene would later study music at Du Sable High School under Captain Walter Dyett, the reknowned musical director who helped launch the careers of numerous greats including Nat King Cole, Bo Diddley and Dinah Washington. Ammons’ style would be most influenced by two saxophonists…Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, two of the early greats of the instrument.

At the age of 18 Ammons left Chicago to tour with trumpeter King Kolax and his band. Shortly thereafter Ammons joined the Billy Eckstine Orhestra in 1944. Eckstine was a popular trumpeter and vocalist who helped break down racial barriers in the 1940s and became probably the first romantic black male in popular music. Eckstine’s band included several musicians who would later go on to achieve greatness of their own including trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, drummer Art Blakey and singer Sarah Vaughan. Ammons became a key soloist with Eckstine’s orchestra……..Learn More

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