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Grachan Moncur III Has Died - RIP


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I will forever cherish getting to hear Grachan perform those fantastic Mark Masters arrangements of his (Moncur’s) music for octet, with and led locally by Brad Linde — in December 2011 (just shy of a year after I first moved to Washington DC).

He’s a player I never dreamed I’d get to hear, let alone in the context of those masterful arrangements — and they even played a couple tunes Masters arranged that didn’t make the recording too…


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2 minutes ago, Milestones said:

R.I.P., Grachan.

I very much agree that he was greatly underrated.  In a fair world, he would have made 8 or 9 records as a leader for Blue Note (rather than two) and about 50 albums overall (rather than 10).


Totally agree. He was a real original. RIP 

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Some rare live footage to enjoy — over 48 minutes worth, from 1970! — as we think back on this unique voice in the music…

This seems to have just been uploaded a couple months ago.  I’m copying over the particulars, in case the video disappears later…

Upload title: The 360 Degrees Music Experience - Live @ Molde Jazz Festival 1970

Description: Beaver Harris drums, Grachan Moncour III trombon, Roland Alexander sax, Dave Burell piano, Jymie Merrit bass, Buzzy vocals

00:00 Part 1 - New Africa

15:40 Part 2

32:25 Part 3

46:44 Presenting musicians...

The 360 Degree Music Experience was an American band that performed both traditional and experimental jazz. Active during the 1970s and '80s, the group was initially co-led by drummer Beaver Harris and the pianist Dave Burrell. After Burell left the group, pianist Don Pullen replaced him. Several other notable musicians were members of the band at one time or another, including Hamiet Bluiett, Cameron Brown, Ron Carter, Ricky Ford, Jimmy Garrison, Grachan Moncur III, Titos Sompa, and Buster Williams among others. The group released two albums for BMG: From Ragtime to No Time and A Well Kept Secret - from Wikipedia

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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46 minutes ago, JSngry said:

For me, he created one of the most valuable and treasured books of jazz compositions. Bar none. Compositions, not songs, not blowing vehicles, compositions, each one either its own set of specific images and vocabulary. 





Yes, absolutely!

This one hits really hard. Glad to have been able to hang with him and hear him play one last time in Baltimore in November 2019.

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Grachan Moncur III was a huge part of my formative listening. Those two key aspects of his work - that boundlessly deep, economical trombone and his proficiency with a kind of intense jazz minimalism - left an indelible mark on volumes of musicians. In his prime, Moncur had this ability to command your full attention with only a modicum of content - as if the absence of information forced you to explore what was most assuredly - but only elusively - there. You just cannot deny that he had something.

The Blue Notes are stellar - and Rooster, thank you for sharing that YouTube vid and the Masters record. Exploration is one of my favorite "recent" big band efforts: clean, conceptually clear, and absolutely true to the composer. 

However, my absolute favorite Moncur record is New Africa. That's everything right there. It has the grainy-ness and charismatic mystery of the best early free jazz, but the crackling ensemble interplay and the simple depth of the compositions are not merely a vibe. It's "just" a document of some of the best musicians who ever lived showing up to play. 

RIP - and thank you. 

Edited by ep1str0phy
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RIP, a giant.  Agree the BN's and the BYG's are wonderful, but so is much of his later work.

3 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

definitely not an easy life he had

Clifford, can you tell us more about that?  I saw in an obit that he was married for 54 years, which is a testament in and of itself in this day and age.    I remember seeing him at the Painted Bride Art Center in the 90's, and apparently he was then just returning to the scene after a long (health-related?) absence?  Amazing musician, for his writing and vision as much as (or even more than) for his playing.  I'm thankful for every recording I own by him, and do wish someone would put his JCOA album out on CD, or even a good legal download (and I almost never buy those, but in this case I would jump at it).

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RIP.  Aside from being one of the greatest trombonists of his generation, his compositional talent was formidable.  His Hipnosis is one of my all-time favorites.  A wild collision of The Sidewinder-groove and avant-garde aesthetics.


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Love his playing and his compositions, he had it all. 

But really he would have deserved more recognition.

I mean, if I think about that "Paris Reunion" edition somewhere around 1985/86 where he was featured and played so great.....fantastic !!!! 

And when the all stars were announced, he got less applause, very very embarrassing, he would have deserved it all. 

It was the line up Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Leo Wright, Graham MoncurIII,. 

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Damn, not news to start any day with.

I love everything Moncur recorded that I have managed to get hold of.  The BNs, as leader and sideman, alone would be a musical legacy of great importance but there is so much more beyond them right through to the sporadic later recordings.

I give thanks that such a musician, and I include composer in that, gave us his musical legacy to continue to appreciate beyond his physical presence on earth 


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