Giuffre, a native of Dallas, Texas, first came to critical attention as a member of Woody Herman's Orchestra. In 1947, he composed "4 Brothers" for members of the saxophone section (the tenor saxes of Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Herbie Steward plus the baritone of Serge Chaloff). The piece was an instant hit and there have been numerous covers (especially vocal versions) over the past 6+ decades). Within in the next few years, Giuffre had become a "free-lance" arranger/saxophonist and became in the West Coast "Cool Jazz" scene, working with Howard Rumsey and Shelley Manne.
|photo by Herb Snitzer 1961/1988|
Over time, I learned the importance of distance, of keeping an open mind, and listened to more "free" music. Once you pay attention to the interactions, take into account that artists need to continue to grow and so do listeners, you come to accept the music. Yes, it's okay to love "Train and the River" but understand that albums such as "Free Fall" and "Fusion" (one of the 1961 Verve Lps) spring from the same explorative veins that fueled the legendary Atlantic recordings.
Of course, you do not to have to like any music and you have the right to to your opinion but give the artist credit for not doing the same thing over and over again. Plenty of musicians find creativity within genres, others prefer to experiment. Miles Davis did that throughout his career, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter continue to enter new territories whereas Sonny Rollins finds great creativity moving through familiar waters.
That's just part of the reason that The Jimmy Giuffre 3 &4: New York Concerts is such an important recording. The 2 CD-set features a September 3, 1965, date recorded live in Judson Hall in New York City (across the street from Carnegie Hall) and a May 19, 1965 concert in an empty auditorium on the campus of Columbia University (Wollman Auditorium, which was demolished in 1996.) Both shows were recorded by then Columbia student George Klabin for his WKCR-FM radio show. Each show aired once and the tapes were filed away. The September gig (it is disc #1) features bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers while, on the May recording, Barre Phillips is the bassist in the rhythm section with Chambers and pianist Don Friedman joins the group.
Klabin, who now runs Resonance Records (a label that has issued live dates from Wes Montgomery and Bill Evans), had no interest in releasing the music on his label but did the mixing, the mastering and the impressive sound restoration. He also gave his label's Executive Vice President Zev Feldman permission to sell the tapes to Elemental Music, the label owned by Jordi Soley of Barcelona, Spain.
The label has no website nor does Jimmy Giuffre but you should be able to find the CDs and more information about the artist on various sites.