Jazz Profiles - Bennie Green
Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm
Sid Gribetz presents a five-hour tribute to trombonist Bennie Green on the “Jazz Profiles” radio show this Sunday July 19 from 2-7 PM on WKCR.
While lesser-remembered today, Bennie Green was one of the great trombone players in the post war jazz years, a period when the otherwise cumbersome instrument developed into a persuasive and interpretive soloist’s vehicle. Green had a facile and fluid ease on the trombone, a great sense of rhythm and swing, and a sophisticated understanding of modern jazz harmonies. These traits all informed his ability to succeed in many styles of mainstream jazz, and laid the groundwork for his contributions to the historic developments of jazz trombone.
Bennie Green was born in Chicago in 1923 and came of age with lessons from the famed Walter Dyett at DuSable High School and also influence from his musical family. His first major professional engagement was with the Earl Fatha Hines big band as a teenager. Green was eventually drafted in to the armed forces later in World War II, but after the war he returned to the Hines organization. In the late 1940's, Green joined Charlie Ventura’s popular “Bop For The People” band, and afterwards he resumed an affiliation with the Hines small groups in the early 1950's.
In addition to his facility with swing and bop, Green participated in seminal early modern jazz dates with Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. By the later 1950's, Green recorded prolifically as a leader, for Prestige, Blue Note and other labels in the prevalent hard bop idiom, while also swinging hard.
In later years, as jazz lost its popularity in the rock era, Green worked for a time with Duke Ellington’s orchestra, and then he settled in Las Vegas for a professional career with the resort hotel bands. After a long bout with cancer, Green died in 1977.