Happy Birthday Grachan Moncur III

June 3, 1937


Trombonist and composer Grachan Moncur III was born on June 3, 1937, in New York City and raised in Newark, New Jersey.

Moncur was already sitting in with touring musicians like Art Blakey and Jackie McLean while still in high school. After graduating, he spent three years on the road with Ray Charles.

This was followed by collaborations with Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp, and many others.

He toured with Ray Charles from 1959 to 1962 and the “Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet” in 1962.

His early ’60s appearance on the two Jackie McLean albums “Step Beyond” and “Destination… Out!” led to his own solo releases for Blue Note, 1963’s “Evolution” and 1964’s “Some Other Stuff.”

Known by this point in his career as a big-name free jazz trombonist, along with Roswell Rudd, Moncur went on to join Archie Shepp’s band in addition to recording with a number of other avant-garde players.

While in Paris in the summer of 1969, Grachan recorded two memorable albums, “New Africa” and “Aco Dei de Madrugadaas,” for the French free jazz label BYG Actuel.

Grachan Moncur III was commissioned to write a jazz symphony titled “Echoes of Prayer” for the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in 1974.

A year after recording Thandiwa, this group with Ron Carter on bass would be part of Miles Davis’ “second great quintet.”


Grachan Moncur III, trombone
Wayne Shorter, tenor
Herbie Hancock, piano
Cecil McBee, bass
Tony Williams, drums