The Artistry of… Grant Green

A guitar player who was influenced by the lyricism of the saxophone and that instrument’s players who gave the iconic jazz horn soul, personality and voice. Charlie Parker was one of those players who influenced Green’s developing guitar style. You can hear it in the way he played — more of a lyrical line than chordal progression. More like the soulful voice the greats of saxophone so vividly presented in their playing.

Early work saw Green playing R&B, and the vocal-like lines are a hallmark of the Grant Green sound. Green was primarily a blues guitarist, his music as vocally and linearly adventurous as the best of rhythm and blues and straight-up blues. The style is credited as a major influence on the evolution of the lead guitar in ensembles and groups in genres strongly influenced by jazz and blues, including rock ‘n’ roll.

About Green’s style, George Benson may have said it best: “People were always all over Grant. He was an icon. Guitar players were trying to learn what his secret was, and there were people in general who just loved his groove. Grant made the guitar come alive and sing. Only he could do it like that.”