Wardell Gray: Wardell Gray Memorial vol 1 & 2 (1949-53) 1992

Memorial vol 1 [CD]

Track list:

Volume One:

01 Twisted
02 Twisted [previously unissued alt tk C]
03 Twisted [alt tk A]
04 Twisted [alt tk D]
05 Easy Living
06 Easy Living [alt tk]
07 Southside
08 Southside [alt. tk D]
09 Southside [previously unissued alt tk A]
10 Southside [previously unissued alt tk B]
11 Southside [previously unissued alt tk C]
12 Southside [previously unissued alt tk F]
13 Southside [previously unissued alt tk G]
14 Sweet Lorraine
15 So Long Broadway
16 Paul’s Cause
17 The Man I Love
18 Lavonne

Memorial vol 1 [LP 1983]


Wardell Gray – tenor sax
Al Haig – piano
Tommy Potter – bass
Roy Haynes – drums
Recorded: in New York; November 11, 1949

[#15-18] Teddy Charles West Coasters:
Wardell Gray – tenor sax
Frank Morgan – alto sax
Sonny Clark – piano
Teddy Charles – vibes
Dick Nivison – bass
Lawrence Marable – drums
Recorded: Los Angeles; February 20, 1953

Prestige PRLP 7008
Original Jazz Classics OJCCD 050

Producer: Bob Weinstoock
Recording Engineer: Jack Andrews
Liner Notes: Ira Gilter
Cover Photography:Ray Avery


Volume Two:

Memorial vol 2 [CD]

01 Blue Gray
02 Blue Gray [previously unissued alt tk]
03 Blue Gray [previously unissued alt tk]
04 Grayhound
05 Grayhound [previously unissued alt tk]
06 Grayhound [previously unissued alt tk]
07 A Sinner Kissed an Angel
08 Treadin’
09 Treadin’ [previously unissued alt tk]
10 Treadin’ [previously unissued alt tk]
11 April Skies
12 Bright Boy
13 Jackie
14 Farmer’s Market
15 Sweet and Lovely
16 Lover Man
17 Scrapple from the Apple
18 Move

Memorial vol 2 [LP 1983]


Wardell Gray – tenor sax
Phil Hill – piano
John Richardson – bass
Art Mardigan – drums
Recorded: Detroit; April 25, 1950

Wardell Gray – tenor sax
Art Farmer – trumpet
Hampton Hawes – piano
Harper Crosby – bass
Lawrence Marable – drums
Robert Collier – congas [11-14]
Recorded: Los Angeles; January 21, 1952

Wardell Gray – tenor sax
Clark Terry – trumpet
Dexter Gordon – tenor sax [#18]
Sonny Criss – alto sax
Jimmy Bunn – piano
Billy Hadnott – bass
Chuck Thompson – drums
Recorded: in performance at the Hula Hut Club, Los Angeles; August 27, 1950

Prestige PRLP 7009
Original Jazz Classics OJCCD 051

Producer: Bob Weinstoock

Liner Notes: Ira Gilter
Cover Photography: Ray Avery

Re-mastered: Rudy van Gelder

Memorial Album [1965 2xLP (PRST 7343)]


Wardell Gray was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era (along with Dexter Gordon and Teddy Edwards).

His Lester Young-influenced tone made his playing attractive to swing musicians as well as younger modernists.

He grew up in Detroit, playing in local bands as a teenager.

Gray was with Earl Hines during 1943-1945, recording with him (1945).

That same year, he moved to Los Angeles and he became a major part of the Central Avenue scene, having nightly tenor battles with Dexter Gordon; their recording of “The Chase” was popular.

Gray recorded with Charlie Parker in 1947 and yet his style appealed to Benny Goodman, with whom he played the following year.

Among his own sessions, his solos on “Twisted” (1949) and “Farmer’s Market” (1952) were turned into memorable vocalese by Annie Ross a few years later.

Back in New York, Gray played and recorded with Tadd Dameron and the Count Basie septet and big band (1950-1951); “Little Pony,” his showcase with the Basie orchestra, is a classic.

Gray was featured on some Norman Granz jam sessions (“Apple Jam” has a particularly heated solo) and recorded with Louie Bellson (1952-1953).

Ironically, Wardell Gray, who in the late ’40s was an inspiration to some younger musicians due to his opposition to drug use, himself became involved in drugs and died mysteriously in Las Vegas on May 25, 1955, when he was just 34.
~Scott Yanow[]