Jimmy Giuffre R.I.P.

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Jimmy Giuffre, R.I.P.

Very saddened to hear of Jimmy Giuffre's passing (and even more bummed to see that this is the first ILM thread on it), though I knew for some time he was in poor health. The day after I heard this, a recent eBay score, his long out of print 1961 ECM set arrived and I've been playing it nonstop. Last year, I failed to convince my editors at Stop Smiling to include Mr. Giuffre in their Jazz Issue, though that may change now. That he influenced folks like John Zorn, Evan Parker, Tim Buckley, Bert Jansch, and the aesthetics of Manfred Eicher's ECM imprint is really beside the point. Giuffre's music remains stunning in its evocative beauty for me.

beta blog, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 15:59 (twelve years ago) link

Aw, man. This sucks. Time to drop a needle on "The Jimmy Giuffre 3."

Terrible Cold, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:02 (twelve years ago) link

RIP, indeed.

DLee, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:10 (twelve years ago) link

The original three Giuffre/Bley/Swallow albs are some of my v. favourite jazz recs - they still sound like nothing else in the music - a great musician/composer/leader - RIP

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:13 (twelve years ago) link

A brilliant performance at the start of Jazz on a Summer's Day.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 20:03 (twelve years ago) link

As neat as the more avant stuff is I think my favorite is Jimmy Giuffre 3.


Hurting 2, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 20:12 (twelve years ago) link

Bummer. Time to go home and put on "Tangents in Jazz".

Drew Daniel, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 21:33 (twelve years ago) link


m coleman, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 21:51 (twelve years ago) link

a shame--one of the great transitional figures in jazz. I often play Flight and Emphasis, both with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow, for a kick, and I quite like The Easy Way, with Jim Hall and Ray Brown, too.

whisperineddhurt, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:24 (twelve years ago) link

"The Train And The River" at Newport - immortal.

RIP big reedman.

Dingbod Kesterson, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:25 (twelve years ago) link

six years pass...

been listening a lot to the several incarnations of the jimmy giuffre 3, not just the "free" giuffre/bley/swallow stuff (which is beyond amazing) but the earlier, less obviously avant stuff with guitarist jim hall.

i'm not exactly a jazz neophyte, but i'm no expert either. i have a question.

in a lot of the stuff he did w/ giuffre, most of which was drummer-less, hall uses his guitar almost as a percussive element, producing scrapes and, most compellingly, these sort of subharmonic rumbles and rattles on his guitar. it's not percussive in the sense of accenting the beats, at least not usually. it's more like an ongoing textural element. at first you might not even realize it's a guitar.

anyway i'm curious to know if there is a better way of describing how hall is using his guitar here, and if there's a lot of other music where the guitar is used in this way. i KNOW i've heard some prominent examples—i can kind of hear them in my head—but it's driving me nuts that i can't name them. (i mean, i know hall's student bill frisell does this a lot of the time, but i can't think of specific examples ATM.)

anyway, if you don't know what i'm talking about, listen to the giuffre 3's "western suite," and note the guitar work. there are times when he's rumbling the bass strings in a way that you don't hear notes so much as a kind of quiet rumble, like a subway train passing below.

people should just listen to this anyway, it is extraordinary.


I dunno. (amateurist), Tuesday, 23 September 2014 01:35 (five years ago) link

wow, i kill threads dead, huh?

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 17:44 (five years ago) link

nah you start them. thanks for posting that. when I heard 'free fall' I was utterly blown away as to how I'd missed hearing that, or how he got to that point, and that album explains it a bit

that is a very modern guitar sound

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:06 (five years ago) link

Yeah, but also, I was already thinking of (mostly)solo blues guys doing like you describe Hall's approach to this material--even before I heard it, and knew how bluesy it is. Good to see all the other Giuffre on the same YouTube page; I'll check those when more time Got a bit of his xpost Newport performance on there too, from the innovative concert film,Jazz On A Summer's Day.
I confess I do kinda miss the drums at this Suite length, despite Hall's percussive elements (he's always tended to be a bit too refined for my basically rockhead, drum-lovin' ears). Good that JG3 seem to have influenced Paul Motian Three, PM being a drummer and all (though Frisell can also seem too refined).

dow, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:38 (five years ago) link

i was just thinking that the closest equiv to jim hall's sound on these giuffre dates is some stuff frisell has done

which makes sense, since frisell was hall's student

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 25 September 2014 16:03 (five years ago) link

the more you know

Milton Parker, Thursday, 25 September 2014 17:28 (five years ago) link

two years pass...

The Easy Way is so good

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Sunday, 3 September 2017 00:28 (three years ago) link

yep its really good, Ray Brown/Jim Hall = one of the alltime great rhythm sections as well.

calzino, Monday, 4 September 2017 10:01 (three years ago) link

Yeah, I'd say it swings harder than pretty much any other drumless record I've ever heard.

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 01:34 (three years ago) link

I really haven't spent enough time exploring his work, although I always loved The Jimmy Giuffre 3 and Western Suite, and Free Fall was at least filed in my head as a cool record although I never dug into it that much. Spotify leaves me no excuse not to.

the last famous person you were surprised to discover was actually (man alive), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 01:47 (three years ago) link

just listened to the easy way this weekend! i agree: so good.

tylerw, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 14:21 (three years ago) link

another probably markedly less avant-garde but still absolutely lovely one, is the meets Lee Konitz album.

calzino, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 21:56 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

this guy slaps

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 September 2020 23:14 (one week ago) link

aye, you aren't wrong there!

calzino, Tuesday, 15 September 2020 23:41 (one week ago) link

The western suite, the trio with jim hall, the easy way, lee konitz meets jimmy giuffre - you can't go wrong with any of them imo

calzino, Tuesday, 15 September 2020 23:47 (one week ago) link

I saw Jazz on a Summer's Day for the second time last week, and then posted on Facebook how much I loved "The Train and the River" over the opening credits. Sounds like Henry Flynt at the beginning!

clemenza, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 00:53 (six days ago) link

The Penguin Guide authors were huge fans of Free Fall, which wound up being my introduction. Great album that deserves to be heard by far more people.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 01:15 (six days ago) link

I actually vaguely remember that, although I never liked it as much as the records with Jim Hall

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 03:47 (six days ago) link

Man, looking at his discog now -- there's a lot of stuff I've never heard!

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 03:49 (six days ago) link

loads of those late period albums with Paul Bley have got to be worth checking out.

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 07:31 (six days ago) link

I slightly prefer the two previous albs by the drumerless trio, Fusion and Thesis, but that may be just because of the way that ECM repackaged them:


Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 07:39 (six days ago) link

"Carla" off that one is such a vibe

calzino, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 08:20 (six days ago) link

Happy coincidence - just came across this cool feature about Giuffre in the New York Times (love the way they say 'Mr Coleman', Mr Bley', 'Mr Swallow' etc) from a few years ago - great photo from 1961 too


Ward Fowler, Thursday, 17 September 2020 13:43 (five days ago) link

I saw _Jazz on a Summer's Day_ for the second time last week, and then posted on Facebook how much I loved "The Train and the River" over the opening credits. Sounds like Henry Flynt at the beginning!

if you like this footage, the Trav’lin’ Light release is the same trio and the same vibe.

The 70’s IAI records with Bley are really nice, esp the trio record: with Bley and guitarist Bill Connors.

sknybrg, Thursday, 17 September 2020 19:35 (five days ago) link

Train and the River is def one of the highlights of that film for me, along with the Chico Hamilton performance and the Gerry Mulligan performance. Really it makes a pretty good case over all for "Cool" school jazz, which was sort of avoided in jazz education at the time I was studying.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 17 September 2020 20:05 (five days ago) link

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