Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gene Ammons

Despite the Leopard's never-ending search of discovery for all things jazz, the name Gene Ammons has not perked up my furry ears until fairly recently. A friend hipped me to a funky date from 1971, You Talk That Talk, that partners Ammon's huge saxophone tone with the ultra - elastic big boss tenor of Sonny Stitt one of their many recorded collaborations.

Other than being a remarkable player with formidable chops, Ammons boasted two claims to fame: one, although he came from a bebop background, he was also equally adept at R&B, and was one of the original architects of what is now called soul jazz, and two, the big man was twice incarcerated for drug possession in his career, from 1958 to 1960 and  from 1962 to 1969.

Checking out his catalog has shown that we suffered a huge loss when Ammons passed away of cancer in 1974. He was funky and cerebral at the same time -- a lethal combination.

(Click to hear cut Jungle Strut from Ammons' album "Brother Jug")

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