Grant Green is one of the most underestimated jazz guitarist in history. His contribution to jazz, soul and funk music (specially on the Blue Note label) is peerless. Green had a distinctive voice in improvisation and complete mastery of the bebop language.
It is said that Green was influenced more by horn players than guitarists. His playing is mostly linear and contains quite a lot of space (silence) between the lines. Some biographies state Charlie Christian , Miles Davis and Charlie Parker as his main influences.
Gear and Playing Style
Gear includes good old hollow-bodied guitars such as :
- Gibson ES-330
- Gibson L7
- Epiphone Emperor
- custom built d’Aquisto
Green played with a pick and was not a virtuoso guitarist ; he never played real fast because the music came first, and the technique obeyed his musical expression. Coming from a soul/gospel background, the feel was always more important.
In Green’s improvisation we hear mostly eight-notes with some triplets and very (very) occasional double-time arpeggios (swept-picked across the strings). See the transcription below.
Video, Licks and Transcriptions