Bunky Green

b. 23 April 1935, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Green, an alto saxophonist, was born in Milwaukee and played with Billy Wallace. He was hired by Charles Mingus to replace Jackie McLean after a spell in New York. The short time Green spent with Mingus made a lasting impression. His sparing use in notation and belief that there was no wrong note had a lasting impact on Green’s style. Green, who had been playing with Mingus, moved to Chicago, where he recorded with the Cadet/Argo labels. Green was a rising star but he eventually left the spotlight to become a jazz educator. From 1972 to 1989, he taught at Chicago State University. In the 1990s, he took over the direction of the University of North Florida’s jazz studies program. He was also president of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Green’s educational activities have resulted in only a handful of sessions being released since the mid-60s. This includes a stellar spell on Vanguard Records that culminated with 1979’s “Places We’ve Never Been”. This recording was supported by an all-star band that included guitarist Randy Brecker, pianist Albert Dailey and bass player Eddie Gomez. It also featured Green’s ability to freely move in and out chord changes. This original technique played a major part in shaping the sound of Steve Coleman and other MBase players over the next decade. Green’s 1989 session Healing The Pain is a beautiful and moving record that commemorates the passing of his parents.

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