Grant Green (1935-1979)

Grant Green (1935-1979)

Grant Green is one of the most underrated jazz guitarists in history.

His signature sound - dry, and mostly bluesy single note lines - became a fixture on the Blue Note record label in 1960s.

These recordings had a widespread impact on the future of jazz, soul and funk guitar playing.

Playing Style


Green's playing was heavily influenced by guitarist Charlie Christian, as well as horn players including Miles Davis and Joe Henderson.

Some critics have described his approach as "horn-like", due to his emphasis on melodic lines and use of space.

Like Christian, Green played with a pick. He was not a virtuoso guitarist, instead opting for simple melodies with groovy rhythms.

Grant_Green_

Coming from a soul/gospel background, the feel was always more important.

In Green's solos, we hear mostly eighth-notes, triplets and some very occasional double-time arpeggios that he played by sweep-picking. See the transcription below!

Gear

Throughout his career, Green favoured hollow body or semi-hollow guitars:

Top 5 Grant Green Albums

Don’t know where to start listening to the great Grant Green? Here are 5 essential albums!

(Of course, this is just our opinion. Leave your favourites in the comments!)

  1. Green Street (1961)
  2. The Matador (1979)
  3. Feelin' The Spirit (1963)
  4. Alive! (1970)
  5. Talkin About (1965)

Solo Transcription

Dig what you've heard so far? Then check out this great solo 👇

grant-green-solo-excerptCLICK TO DOWNLOAD PDF

Feel free to use any of these lines when you're feeling green ;)

Rare Footage

Don't miss this - it's one of the only existing videos of Grant Green!

 

Brush up on some more history with "The Who's Who of Jazz Guitar"!

From the Editor: This page was last edited on August 16, 2019 to touch up grammar/syntax, replace images, add button, add video, and edit meta tags.