grachan moncur III

grachan moncur III

BandJazz

Biography

Grachan Moncur III
By Joyce Morgan

Grachan Moncur III was born in New York City at Sydenham Hospital on June 3, 1937 into a musical family that included his Uncle Al Cooper, leader of the Savoy Sultans, and Grachan's father, Grachan Brother Moncur II who played bass as a member of Savoy Sultans. His father also played with such notables as Billie Holiday, Diana Washington, and pianist Teddy Wilson among others.

Grachan's early musical studies started at Laurinburg Institute under the musical direction of Frank H. McDuffie Jr. and Phillip Hilton, a very advanced trombonist and student. His trombone playing began with the all-state marching band and he eventually became a member of the jazz combo. He rapidly moved forward to become leader of the Laurinburg Jazz Septet, and musical director of Laurinburg's traveling musical revue that included singers, dancers and a variety of talented performers.

After graduating from Laurinburg Institute he attended the Manhattan School of Music and the Juillard School of Music. While achieving academic training he also performed as leader and co-leader with various groups that included such stars Wayne Shorter, Gary Bartz, and Blue Mitchell along with jamming at jazz spots such as Birland, the Open Door; The Five spot; Turbo Billage; Cafe Bohemia and Count Basies. Grachan continued his career with fabulous Ray Charles Orchestra. He worked with the group from 1959 until 1961. At a Ray Charles show at the Apollo Theatre which included the Jazztet, Grachan's outstanding solo performances were observed by Benny Golson and he was immediately recruited as the trombonist into the Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet. He performed with the Jazztet until it disbanded in 1962.

Shortly thereafter Grachan became musical director of the Jackie McLean Quintet that included Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Eddie Khan (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). Grachan inherited the leadership of the group at the departure of Jackie McLean. The group performed for several years under Grachan's leadership at such famous clubs as the Blue Coronet in Brooklyn and Slugs in the Village. Under Grachan's leadership on various occasions, the group included Herbie Hancock and Clifford Jarvis.

During the Jackie McLean/Grachan Moncur III era, historical Jazz albums were recorded, One Step Beyond, Evolution, Destination Out, Some Other Stuff, and the classic jazz series double album Hipnosis, were all recorded during this period of Grachan's development. These albums on the Blue Note label featured Grachan as a trombonist and composer and lead to the acceptance of what has been termed "Avant Garde" opening the door for other musicians to record "new music" on the Blue Note Label.

Grachan's exceptional talents afforded him an opportunity to act as well exhibit his musical genius as trombonist, composer, and actor in James Baldwin's Broadway production of Blues for Mr. Charlie. During this period he also worked with the great Sonny Rollins playing a stint at the Plugged Nickle in Chicago, the Village Vanguard in New York City and concerts in the New York metro area. At the conclusion of "Blues for Mr. Charlie"s European tour, Grachan began playing with the Joe Henderson/Kenny Dorham Sextet. After two decades of performing with some the world's greatest jazz musicians, composing traditional and avant garde compositions, Grachan embarked on a new and challenging mission. His appointment to the largest Art Institute (Newark Community School of the Arts) in New Jersey as composer in residence, where he taught aspiring musicians in addition to composing, gave him time to reflect on his past and prepare for his future.

Most recently he has made quest appearances with Change of the Century Orchestra. The orchestra is dedicated to the memory of John Coltrane and was founded by Philly Joe Jones and Sunny Murray. He also devotes time to college appearances and ethnic performances.

Grachan feels his maturity has enhanced his capabilities and commitment to jazz and looks forward to future tours and recording with his own ensemble as well as continuing his educational activities.

Discography

Grachan Moncur III - Discography
As a Leader….

Grachan Moncur III, Evolution, Blue Note November 1963
Grachan Moncur III, Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean, Bobby Hutcherson, Bob Cranshaw, Tony Williams

Grachan Moncur III, Some Other Stuff, Blue Note July 1964
Grachan Moncur III, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Cecil McBee, Tony Williams

Grachan Moncur III, New Africa, BYG August 1969
Grachan Moncur III, Roscoe Mitchell, Dave Burrell, Alan Silva, Andrew Cyrille, Archie Shepp

Grachan Moncur III, Aco dei de madrugada (One Morning I Waked Up Very Early), BYG November 1969
Grachan Moncur III, Fernando Martins, Beb Guérin, Nelson Serra de Castro

Grachan Moncur III, Echoes of Prayer, JCOA April 1974
Grachan Moncur III, Stafford Osborne, Marvin Hannibal Paterson, Janice Robinson, Jack Jeffers, Carlos Ward, Pat Patrick, Perry Robinson, Mark Elf, Carla Bley, Cecil McBee, Charlie Haden, Beaver Harris, Leroy Jenkins, Ngonia, Jeanne Lee, Tawana Dance Ensemble

Grachan Moncur III, Shadows, Denon Jazz June 1977
Grachan Moncur III, Marion Brown, Dave Burrell, Roland Prince, Reggie Workman, Joe Chambers, Andy Bey

Grachan Moncur III Octet, Exploration, Capri Records 2004
Grachan Moncur III, Tim Hagans, John Clark, Dave Woodley, Gary Bartz, Billy Harper, Gary Smulyan, Ray Drummond, Andrew Cyrille

As a band member….

Late 1950's, Jackie Wilson, Nat Phipps, Willis "Gator" Jackson.

The Ray Charles Orchestra 1959-1962
various tours and recordings. Band included Ray Charles, David "Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, among others.

Art Farmer - Benny Golson Jazztet, Here and Now, Mercury February 1962
Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Grachan Moncur III, Harold Mabern, Herbie Lewis, Roy McCurdy

Benny Golson & His Orchestra, Pop + Jazz = Swing, Audio Fidelity / Fresh Sound April 1962
Freddie Hubbard, Bill Hardman, Curtis Fuller, Grachan Moncur III, Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, Ron Carter, Charlie Persip

Art Farmer & Benny Golson Jazztet, Another Git Together, Mercury June 1962
Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Grachan Moncur III, Harold Mabern, Herbie Lewis, Albert Heath

Jackie McLean, One Step Beyond, Blue Note January 1963
Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, Eddie Khan, Tony Williams

Herbie Hancock, My Point of View, Blue Note March 1963
Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Grachan Moncur III, Hank Mobley, Grant Green, Chuck Israels, Tony Williams

Jackie McLean, Destination Out, Blue Note September 1963
Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, Larry Ridley, Roy Haynes

Benny Golson, Stockholm Sojourn, Prestige 1964
Benny Bailey, Bengt-Arne Wallin, Bo Broberg, Cecil Payne, Rune Falk, Grachan Moncur III, Eje Thelin, Roman Dylag

V. A., The New Wave in Jazz, Impulse! March 1965
Grachan Moncur III, Bobby Hutcherson, Cecil McBee, Beaver Harris

Wayne Shorter, The All Seeing Eye, Blue Note October 1965
Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Grachan Moncur III, James Spaulding, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Joe Chambers, Alan Shorter

Archie Shepp, Mama Too Tight, Impulse! August 1966
Archie Shepp, Perry Robinson, Tommy Turrentine, Grachan Moncur III, Roswell Rudd, Howard Johnson, Charlie Haden, Beaver Harris

Marion Brown, The Visitor (aka Juba-Lee), Fontana November 1966
Marion Brown, Grachan Moncur III, Alan Shorter, Bennie Maupin, Dave Burrell, Reggie Johnson, Beaver Harris

Marion Brown, Three For Shepp, Impulse! December 1966
Marion Brown, Grachan Moncur III, Dave Burrell, Stanley Cowell, Norris Jones, Bobby Capp, Beaver Harris

Jackie McLean, Hipnosis, Blue Note 1978
Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Lamont Johnson, Scott Holt, Billy Higgins

Joe Henderson, The Kicker, Milestone August 1967
Joe Henderson, Mike Lawrence, Grachan Moncur III, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Louis Hayes

Jackie McLean, 'Bout Soul, Blue Note September 1967
Jackie McLean, Woody Shaw, Grachan Moncur III, Lamont Johnson, Scott Holt, Rashied Ali, Barbara Simmons

Archie Shepp, Live at the Donaueschingen Music Festival, October 1967
Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Garrison, Beaver Harris

Archie Shepp, Freedom, December 19967
Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Garrison, Beaver Harris, Ted Joans

Archie Shepp, The Way Ahead, Impulse! January 1968
Archie Shepp, Jimmy Owens, Grachan Moncur III, Walter Davis, Ron Carter, Beaver Harris, Roy Haynes

Archie Shepp, For Losers, Impulse! September 1968
Archie Shepp, Martin Banks, Grachan Moncur III, Robin Kenyatta, Andrew Bey, Mel Brown, Bert Payne, Albert Winston, Wilton Felder, Beaver Harris, Leon Thomas, Doris Troy, Tasha Thomas

Archie Shepp, Jimmy Owens, Grachan Moncur III, James Spaulding, Charles Davis, Dave Burrell, Wally Richardson, Bob Bushnell, Bernard Purdie February 1969

Archie Shepp, Kwanza, Impulse! September 1968
Archie She