Freddie Green Day

March 31, 1911 – March 1, 1987

 

A tribute to the always-reliable rhythm guitarist

Guitarist Freddie Green was born on March 31, 1911 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Green, who grew up in New York, started playing guitar at 12,

He freelanced as an acoustic rhythm guitarist until he was discovered by producer John Hammond who thought that Green would make for a perfect fit in Count Basie’s orchestra.

From March 1937 until the end of 1949, Freddie Green was part of Count Basie’s rhythm section; other than a few very early solos on small group dates, Green never soloed nor switched to electric guitar, always happy to play the right chord and keep the Basie band swinging.

In late-1949, Basie reluctantly broke up his big band, forming a small group without Green; however after a year, the guitarist suddenly showed up on the bandstand and he was back with Basie for the next 34 years, participating on all of the Basie big band sessions of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Freddie Green, who wrote the memorable “Corner Pocket” (known vocally as “Until I Had You”), remained with the band after Basie’s death in 1984, staying with the orchestra until his own passing 1987, the 50th anniversary of the start of his association with Count Basie.

Here is Freddie Green with the Basie band performing “And That’s That.”

-Scott Yanow