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Tue, 04.14.1925

Saxophonist Gene Ammons, a gentle Reed player

Gene Ammons

Saxophonist Gene Ammons was born on this date in 1925.  He was an African American musician.

Known by his nickname Jug, Ammons was the son of boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. The younger Ammons worked with the big band of Billy Eckstine from 1944 through 1947. At that time the band included most of the great boppers of the time (Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro and Art Blakey).

Ammons worked with Woody Herman in 1949, then moved on to a forceful two-tenor setting with Stitt and James Moody in the '50s and beyond. Ammons was incarcerated for drug offenses in the late '50s, and again from the mid to late '60s.

The largest portion of his recordings were done for Prestige records and those efforts with Stitt include "Soul Summit" (OJC) as the most memorable. He was a major influence as was Johnny Griffin and Clifford Jordan.

The sound of his tenor saxophone always seemed to match his hometown of Chicago, sprawling, working-class and imbued with an uncomplicated and direct bluesiness. His stylistic approach appeared to be built on elements of Coleman Hawkins (filtered through Ben Webster) and Lester Young. Gene Ammons died of pneumonia

Reference:
Jazz People
by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York
Copyright 1976
ISBN 0-8109-1152-3

ACSAP Biographical Dictionary
R. R. Bowker Co., Copyright 1980
ISBN 0-8351-1283-1

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