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10 Tracks by Jimmy Forrest

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Jimmy Forrest remains one of the most exquisite and assertive swing tenor saxophonists of the post-war years. His driving solos and sense of time were always fluid and seamless, and he had an extraordinary grasp of how to maximize the impact of a song, especially a blues. Born in 1920 (the same year as Charlie Parker), Forrest grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and began playing with Jay McShann and Andy Kirk before World War II. He spent the late 1940s in Duke Ellington's band before leaving to start a solo career.

In 1951, two of his credited compositions recorded on the flip sides of a United 78 became huge hits—Night Train and Bolo Blues. He played with many leading jazz artists throughout the 1950s and '60s, most notably Harry “Sweets" Edison and Count Basie. His command and hard-charging attack on the saxophone rivals Frank Wess, Frank Foster and Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis, and his sense of the blues came from his early years playing in jump blues bands.

Today, here are 10 of my favorite Jimmy Forrest tracks:

Here's Forrest with Miles Davis in 1952 on Tadd Dameron's Out Delight...



Here's Forrest with Harry “Sweets" Edison playing Pussy Willow in 1958, with Jimmy Jones (p), Freddie Green (g), Joe Benjamin (b) and Charlie Persip (d)...



Here's Forrest playing Laura with Harold Mabern (p) Grant Green (g) Gene Ramey (b) Elvin Jones (d)...



Here's Soul Street in 1960, from an album Forrest recorded with saxophonists Oliver Nelson and King Curtis. Forrest took the first tenor sax solo...



Here's Forrest in 1961 with organist Brother Jack McDuff, guitarist Grant Green and drummer Ben Dixon on The Honeydripper...



Here's Forrest on his Bolo Blues in 1961, with Joe Zawinul (p) Tommy Potter (b) Clarence Johnston (d)...



Here's Forrest playing By The River Saint Marie in 1961, with Joe Zawinul (p), Tommy Potter (b) and Clarence Johnston (d)...



Here's Forrest playing Night Train in 1961, with Bunky Parker (p) John Mixon (b) Oscar Oldham (d) Percy James (cga,bgo)...



Here's Forrest on I Love You in 1961, with Hugh Lawson (p) Tommy Potter (b) Clarence Johnston (d) and Ray Barretto (cga)...



And here's Forrest playing Soft Summer Breeze in 1962, Ernie Royal (tp), Jimmy Cleveland (tb), George Barrow, Seldon Powell and Jimmy Forrest (ts), Chris Woods (p), Mundell Lowe (g), Richard Davis (b), Ed Shaughnessy (d) and Oliver Nelson (arr,dir)...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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