April 26, 1921 – April 24, 2008
The “Jimmy Giuffre Trio” perform in Rome, Italy on June 19, 1959.
Jimmy Giuffre, tenor sax
Jim Hall, guitar
Buddy Clark, bass
A reed player originally from Dallas Texas, Jimmy Giuffre first emerged as arranger for the “Woody Herman Band” for whom which he wrote the composition “Four Brothers.”
In the early 1950s he would become a central figure in West Coast and cool jazz as a member of Howard Rumsey’s “Lighthouse All Stars” performing at a very popular jazz club called The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California.
After leaving the “All Stars” in September 1953 Jimmy became a member of Shorty Rogers’ “Giants” before embarking on his solo career.
Giuffre assembled a trio with which he would perform through the ’50s featuring guitarist Jim Hall and bassist Ralph Pena, who was later replaced by Jim Atlas.
He formed a new trio with Paul Bley on piano and Steve Swallow double bass in 1961 and began to focus on clarinet more so than tenor sax, exploring the possibilities of free jazz in its soft melodic form.
In the ’70s Jimmy made the inevitable leap to music educator when he was hired by New York University to head its jazz ensemble.
He would teach at the New England Conservatory of Music during the 1990s.
Jimmy Giuffre is remembered for his interest and development in forms of free improvisation and authored many unusually pieces of music throughout his career.