Remembering Steve Grossman

January 18, 1951 – August 13, 2020

 

A tribute to the versatile saxophonist

Tenor and soprano-saxophonist Steve Grossman passed away on August 15, 2020 at the age of 69.

He was born on January 18, 1951 in New York City.

Grossman began playing alto when he was eight, soprano at 15, and tenor a year later.

When he was just 18, he became Wayne Shorter’s successor with Miles Davis’ group, playing fusion with Davis from late 1969 until Sept. 1970, recording Jack Johnson, At Fillmore, Big Fun, Black Beauty and part of Live/Evil with the trumpeter.

While he started out playing fusion, Grossman developed into a hard bop-oriented tenor and soprano-saxophonist, working with Lonnie Liston Smith (1971), Elvin Jones (playing next to David Liebman during 1971-1974), and Gene Perla’s Stone Alliance.

Grossman recorded with several bands led by Japanese musicians and made a record with Gil Evans in 1981 but was mostly heard during his last few decades with his own acoustic groups (including a 1991 album with McCoy Tyner) that featured him as a tenor-saxophonist inspired by Sonny Rollins, often playing with a pianoless trio.

Here is Steve Grossman performing “In A Sentimental Mood” in a trio with bassist Aldo Zenino and drummer Billy Brooks.

– Scott Yanow

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