artist profile: Gene Ammons

Birth: Chicago, 14 April 1925
Professional Career: Billy Eckstine's Big Band(1944), Gene Ammons Band(1947),
Woody Herman's Big Band(1949),Gene Ammons Band(frequently w/ Sonny Stitt 1950-69)
Selected Recordings: As leader: Boss Tenor(1960), Soul Summitt (1962) As leader
w/ Stitt: Blues Up and Down(1950), As a sideman:B. Eckstine: Blowin' the blues away(1944)

Son of the famous jazz pianist Albert Ammons, his early music studies began at Du Sable High School under Captain Walter Dyett. At the age of 18 he left to join the trumpeter King Kolax and his band in Chicago. From there he joined Billy Eckstine's big band as its principle bop soloist. In 1947 he started recording and leading his own small groups with such sideman as Junior Mance and Gene Wright. He did a brief stint with Woody Herman's big band in 1949 but soon returned to leading small groups from 1950 to 1952 partnering with such artists as Sonny Stitt. He became a pioneer in the soul jazz movement which was a melding of bop and black gospel preaching. However, drug charges put him in jail in throughout the 1960's. Fortunatley, he was still allowed to record during his prison term when soul music was growing in popularity thus propelling the demand for his records.

transcribed from You're Not the Kind

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