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Grachan Moncur III (born June 3, 1937) is an American jazz trombonist. He is one of the few real free jazz trombonists, as well as a prolific composer. He is the son of jazz bassist Grachan Moncur II and the nephew of jazz saxophonist Al Cooper.



Born in New York City and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Grachan began playing the cello at age nine, and switched to the trombone at eleven. In high school he attended the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, the private school where Dizzy Gillespie had studied. While still in school he began sitting in with touring jazz musicians on their way through town, such as Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.

After high school he toured with Ray Charles (1959–1962), Art Farmer's and Benny Golson's Jazztet (1962), and Sonny Rollins. He took part in two classic Jackie McLean albums in the early 1960s, One Step Beyond and Destination Out, to which he also contributed the bulk of compositions and which led to two influential albums of his own for Blue Note Records, Evolution (1963) with Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, and Some Other Stuff (1964) with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

After leaving Blue Note, Grachan joined Archie Shepp's ensemble and recorded with other avant-garde players such as Marion Brown, Beaver Harris and Roswell Rudd (the other big name in free jazz trombone). During a stay in Paris in the summer of 1969, he recorded two albums as a leader for the famous BYG Actuel label, New Africa and Aco Dei de Madrugada, as well as appearing as a sideman on numerous other releases of the label. In 1974, the Jazz Composer's Orchestra commissioned him to write Echoes of Prayer (1974), a jazz symphony featuring a full orchestra plus vocalists and jazz soloists. His sixth album as a leader, Shadows (1977) was released only in Japan. Unfortunately, he was subsequently plagued by health problems and copyright disputes and recorded only rarely. Through the 1980s he recorded with Cassandra Wilson (1985), played occasionally with the Paris Reunion Band and Frank Lowe, appeared on John Patton's Soul Connection (1983), but mostly concentrated on teaching. In 2004 he re-emerged with a new album (Exploration) on Capri Records featuring Grachan's compositions arranged by Mark Masters for an octet including Tim Hagans and Gary Bartz.



As a leader

  • Evolution (Blue Note, 1963)
  • Some Other Stuff (Blue Note, 1964)
  • New Africa (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • Aco Dei de Madrugada (One Morning I Waked Up Very Early) (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • Echoes of Prayer (JCOA, 1974)
  • Shadows (Denon, 1977)
  • Exploration (Capri, 2004)
  • Inner Cry Blues (Lunar Module, 2007)

As a sideman

with Marion Brown:

  • Juba-Lee (Fontana, 1966)
  • Three for Shepp (Impulse!, 1967)

with Dave Burrell:

  • Echo (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • La vie de bohême (BYG Actuel, 1970)

with The Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet:

  • Here and Now (Mercury, 1962)
  • Another Git Together (Mercury, 1962)

with Benny Golson:

  • Pop + Jazz = Swing (Audio Fidelity, 1962)
  • Stockholm Sojourn (Prestige, 1965)
  • Just Jazz (Audio Fidelity, 1965)

with Herbie Hancock:

  • My Point of View (Blue Note, 1963)

with Beaver Harris:

  • Safe (Red, 1979)
  • Beautiful Africa (Soul Note, 1979)
  • Live at Nyon (Cadence Jazz, 1981)

with Joe Henderson:

  • The Kicker (Milestone, 1967)

with Khan Jamal:

  • Black Awareness (CIMP, 2005)

with Frank Lowe:

  • Decision in Paradise (Soul Note, 1985)

with Jackie McLean:

  • One Step Beyond (Blue Note, 1963)
  • Destination Out (Blue Note, 1964)
  • 'Bout Soul (Blue Note, 1967)
  • Hipnosis (Blue Note, 1978)

with Lee Morgan:

  • Lee Morgan (Blue Note, 1971)

with Butch Morris:

  • In Touch... but out of Reach (Kharma, 1982)

with Sunny Murray:

  • Hommage to Africa (BYG Actuel, 1969)

with Sunny Murray, Khan Jamal and Romulus:

  • Change of the Century Orchestra (JAS, 1999)

with Paris Reunion Band:

  • For Klook (Gazell, 1987)

with William Parker:

  • In Order to Survive (Black Saint, 1995)

with John Patton:

  • Soul Connection (Nilva, 1983)

with The Reunion Legacy Band:

  • The Legacy (Early Bird, 1991)

with Roswell Rudd and Archie Shepp:

  • Live in New York (Verve, 2001)

with Archie Shepp:

  • Mama Too Tight (Impulse!, 1966)
  • The Way Ahead (Impulse!, 1968)
  • Poem for Malcom (BYG Actuel, 1969)
  • For Losers (Impulse!, 1970)
  • Things Have Got to Change (Impulse!, 1971)
  • Live at the Panafrican Festival (BYG Actuel, 1971)
  • Life at the Donaueschingen Festival (MPS, 1972)
  • Kwanza (Impulse!, 1974)
  • Freedom (JMY, 1991)

with Wayne Shorter:

  • The All-Seeing Eye (Blue Note, 1965)

with Alan Silva:

  • Luna Surface (BYG Actuel, 1969)

with Clifford Thornton:

  • Ketchaoua (BYG Actuel, 1969)

with Chris White:

  • The Chris White Project (Muse, 1993)

with Cassandra Wilson:

  • Point of View (JMT, 1986)

External links


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