Jimmy Giuffre - live in Rome - 1959
Jimmy Giuffre - Pioneer in free improvisation -purveyor of freeing things up. photo: Getty Images.

Jimmy Giuffre Trio – Live In Rome – 1959 – Past Daily Downbeat

Jimmy Giuffre - live in Rome - 1959

Jimmy Giuffre – Pioneer in free improvisation – purveyor of freeing things up. (photo: Getty Images)

Jimmy Giuffre Trio – Live at Teatro Adriano, Rome – June 19, 1959 – RAI

Jimmy Giuffre Trio this weekend. With Jim Hall, guitar and Buddy Clark, bass – recorded by RAI on June 19, 1959.

Giuffre first became known as an arranger for Woody Herman’s big band, for which he wrote “Four Brothers” (1947). He would continue to write creative, unusual arrangements throughout his career. He was a central figure in West Coast jazz and cool jazz. He became a member of Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All Stars in 1951 as a full-time All Star along with Shorty Rogers and Shelly Manne. The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California became the focal point of West Coast jazz in the 1952–53 time period. It was during this time when he collaborated with Rogers on many of the successful charts written for the All Stars. The first recording released by the Lighthouse All Stars was a not so West Coast jazz chart named “Big Boy” which he and Rogers had put together. It was an instant hit in Los Angeles. He left the band in September 1953 and became a member of Shorty Rogers and His Giants before going solo. At this point in his career, Giuffre predominantly played tenor and baritone saxophone.

His first trio consisted of Giuffre, guitarist Jim Hall and double bassist Ralph Peña (later replaced by Jim Atlas). They had a minor hit in 1957 when Giuffre’s “The Train and the River” was featured on the television special The Sound of Jazz. This trio explored what Giuffre dubbed “blues-based folk jazz”. This same special matched Giuffre with fellow clarinetist Pee Wee Russell for a leisurely jam session simply titled “Blues”.

When Atlas left the trio, Giuffre replaced him with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. This unusual instrumentation was partly inspired by Aaron Copland. The group can be seen performing “The Train and the River” in the film Jazz on a Summer’s Day filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival.

In 1959, Giuffre led a trio featuring Hall and bassist Buddy Clark on a concert in Rome, Italy, sharing the bill with Gerry Mulligan’s band, the set that’s playing today.

In 1961, Giuffre formed a new trio with piano player Paul Bley and Steve Swallow on double bass, and also began to focus his attention largely on the clarinet. This group received little attention while active, but were later cited by some critics, fans and musicians as among the most important groups in jazz history. They explored free jazz not in the loud, aggressive mode of Albert Ayler or Archie Shepp, but with a hushed, quiet focus more resembling chamber music. The trio’s explorations of melody, harmony and rhythm are still as striking and radical as any in jazz. Thom Jurek has written that this trio’s recordings are “one of the most essential documents regarding the other side of early-’60s jazz.”

Holiday weekend – maybe staying at home – hit the play button and kick back.





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