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Grachan Moncur III: Evolution

Read "Evolution" reviewed by Greg Simmons

One of the more unusual records in Music Matters series of Blue Note Records reissues is Grachan Moncur III's avant-garde classic Evolution, released here on a 45 rpm double LP. The Music Matters Blue Notes are among the highest quality jazz vinyl available, with fanatical attention to sound, packaging, and pressing quality, here doing serious justice to true milestone performance. Recorded on November of 1963, the date features the horns of Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, as well ...

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Grachan Moncur III: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by Clifford Allen

For as much as the post-Ornette lineage of jazz and improvised music has engendered instrumental freedom both sonically and rhythmically, this language has also given a wealthy palette to the composer. With the work of figures like Andrew Hill remaining in the spotlight and Grachan Moncur III's recent return from a lengthy hiatus, it is worth re-examining the idiomatic missing link that Moncur's work offers. As a soloist, Moncur is often seen as the “cooler alternative to Roswell ...

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Grachan Moncur III: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by AAJ Staff

By Ken Waxman

Grachan Moncur III had strong associations with the Jazztet, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, and tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp. An East Coaster, he brought a variety of sophisticated colors to his compositions using different instrumentation than the standard sax/brass/rhythm section of the hard bop combo.

However, the trombonist has had a very low profile in recent years. Moncur recorded frequently in the '60s, including several sessions under his own name, but by steadfastly holding onto his publishing rights, ...

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Grachan Moncur III Octet: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

It is a crying shame that some of the best jazz musicians have to languish in obscurity. There are many reasons, but a review is not necessarily the place to go into them. Suffice to say that it is a moment worth cherishing when a stalwart comes in from out of the beyond to make his presence felt.

Grachan Moncur III was a forward thinker who made some of the most powerful music of the sixties with compatriots ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Grachan Moncur III: Exploration

Read "Grachan Moncur III: Exploration" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Grachan Moncur III Octet Exploration Capri Records 2004

After a lengthy absence, trombonist/composer Grachan Moncur III returns with his first album as a leader since 1977's Shadows (Denon Jazz). The trombonist is best known for his particiation on two Jackie McLean albums, One Step Beyond and Destination Out! , in 1963. On the latter Moncur contributed two of the five tunes and on the former, three of four. In addition to appearing ...

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Grachan Moncur III Octet: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

"Frankenstein" seems an odd name for a jazz tune, but then why not? The song title--and the song itself--captures the mood of Grachan Moncur III's Exploration. It's an arrangement that features an assertive--to the point of brashness, perhaps--ensemble interplay of a seven horns backed by bass and drums, sans piano or guitar. Two trombones, along with a French horn and baritone sax, ensure the darker tone predominance with--on this particular tune--a stinging, free-ranging alto sax solo by Gary Bartz, followed ...

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Grachan Moncur III Octet: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Trombonist and composer Grachan Moncur III made a memorable impact forty years ago with his challenging compositions and austere improvising style. He then maintained a very low profile for decades, teaching, recording only rarely, and encountering dental problems. Now he's made a welcome return to recording with the absolutely stunning CD Exploration.

In the 1960's, Moncur's trombone style was notable for breaking away from the then-prevalent model of J.J. Johnson. Rather than play bebop acrobatics, Moncur played spare ...

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Grachan Moncur III Octet: Exploration

Read "Exploration" reviewed by John Kelman

It's remarkable how time changes the relative position of musical innovation. When trombonist Grachan Moncur III appeared on the scene with a series of Blue Note appearances including his own Evolution and Some Other Stuff , as well as alto saxophonist Jackie McLean's One Step Beyond , Destination...Out! , Hipnosis and About Soul , thankfully reissued recently as a Mosaic Select box, he was firmly entrenched in the emergent musical left. While not exactly the kind of free style that ...

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Grachan Moncur III: Mosaic Select 1

Read "Mosaic Select 1" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

We take it for granted these days, with packages as large as 18 discs (the Bill Evans Verve box) or even 20 discs (the Complete Miles Davis at Montreux), but back about 20 years ago when Mosaic Records started looking at comprehensive reissues, such massive surveys were all but a pipe dream. For better or worse, a renaissance period of reissue activity, much of it modeled after Mosaic’s trend- setting program, has brought us to the point where the amount ...

INTERVIEWS

A Fireside Chat With Grachan Moncur III

Read "A Fireside Chat With Grachan Moncur III" reviewed by AAJ Staff

There are paths we take in life that are forever. Life is unforgiving and no one in jazz personifies that better than Grachan Moncur III. It took me over a year just to track down Grachan. And because of health issues, another year for him to sit down with the Roadshow. Allow me to be kind and rewind. I had heard Grachan on Blue Note recordings of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and most notably Jackie McLean. Grachan was a monster ...

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Grachan Moncur III: Evolution

Read "Evolution" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Evolution utilizes the excellent front line of Jackie McLean's working group of the early Sixties: McLean on alto sax, Moncur on trombone, and Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. Extra spice comes from the addition of trumpeter Lee Morgan, while Bob Cranshaw's bass and Tony Williams' drums represent a standard Blue Note “out" rhythm section of the time. Moncur wrote all four pieces, and throughout the whole album exercises admirable control of his all-star unit: this brilliant album is nobody's but his. ...


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