Reviews that mention Gigi Gryce

November 6, 2012

Lest We Forget:

Gigi Gryce (1927-1983)
By Ken Waxman

Arguably the most accomplished jazz musician to abandon his career at the height of his fame then make his mark elsewhere, was alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce. Gryce was one of jazz’s most creative composer-arrangers, whose precisely organized small groups and now classic tunes such as “Minority”, “Nica’s Tempo” and “Social Call” established new orchestral possibilities in the ‘50s and ‘60s. However he abruptly abandoned music in 1963 and spent the remainder of his life teaching music and other subjects full time. After his death, his educational achievements were honored when the Bronx public school at which he taught was renamed for him. MORE

August 22, 2002

RAT RACE BLUES: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce

By Noal Cohen & Michael Fitzgerald
Berkeley Hills Books

Romantic music par excellence, jazz is rife with myths about legends who suddenly burst onto the scene, dominated jazz consciousness for a time, then just as swiftly disappear, their vaporization related to drugs, alcohol, violence and sex -- or some combination of all three.

Lee Morgan, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Bix Beiderbecke and Lester Young are most prominent among the ranks of these fallen idols, whose numbers can be multiplied tenfold. Alto saxophonist/composer Gigi Gryce, a devout Muslim who never drank liquor or smoked anything, makes this list by default. He had been so prominent on the New York scene from 1953 to 1962, and vanished so completely afterwards, that many were sure that his story fit the mold. MORE