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Jazzmantics

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Album Review

As part of Lone Hill Jazz's John Graas project, this CD reissues all of the music originally out on the LPs Jazzmantics and Coup de Graas, plus a leftover track from French Horn Jazz. Graas, one of the top jazz French horn players of the 1950s, was also a talented third stream arranger and composer. On these albums he is heard leading groups ranging from a quintet to a tentet, with Art Pepper often being well featured. The music ranges from swinging, cool-toned hard bop to adventurous selections that hint strongly at classical music. In addition to Pepper, key soloists include trumpeter Conte Candoli, tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper, and altoist Herb Geller with Red Callender having a prominent role on tuba. The formerly rare music from 1957 (with the French Horn jazz selection dating from the previous year) is well-worth discovering for it was overshadowed and somewhat overlooked even when it was released a half-century ago.

Biography

Born: 14 March 1917 in Dubuque, IA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s

Along with Julius Watkins, John Graas was one of the first jazz French horn soloists. After playing some classical music, in 1942 he became a member of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra. A period in the Army (1942-1945) and stints with the Cleveland Orchestra and Tex Beneke's big band preceded Graas' first high-profile gig, playing with Stan Kenton's Innovations Orchestra (1950-1951). After leaving Kenton, he settled in Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician in addition to being used on West Coast...
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Jazzmantics, John Graas
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