Grachan Moncur III at Jackie McLean’s Hipnosis session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, February 3 1967 (photo by Francis Wolff)
Short clip of Colin Stetson last night at Zebulon.
Zebulon will be closing this weekend. Another day, and another NYC venue shuts down. I know people like to dump on Williamsburg, but this place was one of the few venues to openly embrace experimental music without reservation. Stetson was a staple here, and it was here that he got his start. When he’s not touring with Arcade Fire, Bon Iver or Bell Orchestre and he’s in town, he plays here.
I caught Grachan Moncur III there. I’m not sure if many in attendance that evening knew the magnitude of seeing a guy like that up close and personal, but that’s neither here nor there - everyone was paying attention - that’s the most important thing in my opinion. Another time, I was strolling down the street with a friend and peeked in and Marshall Allen was there with Sun Ra’s Arkestra. Yeah, the days of strolling by and randomly seeing Sun Ra’s former cohorts jamming away are becoming less likely these days in NYC.
Apart from experimental music, Zebulon embraced afrobeat early. Frank Gossner of Voodoo Funk fame was there all the time, playing authentic African music. He insisted on it. His Lagos Disco Inferno party was great.
Anyway, farewell Zebulon. Thanks for the memories.
Grachan Moncur III on meeting Miles Davis
“I used to go to Birdland and sit in on Monday nights. One night Miles came in. I went up to introduce myself and told him how much I admired him. He looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you ever say that corny shit to nobody! I know who you are, man. You got something. Dig yourself!‘”
via - London Jazz Collector
One Step Beyond by Jackie McLean. Sidemen are Grachan Moncur III, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson and Eddie Khan.
The Moncur/McLean connection. Well, for 5 of the 6 albums pictured at least. Jackie McLean doesn’t appear on Some Other Stuff.
Grachan Moncur III is one of the most underrated composers in jazz. He was composing some of the moodiest, dark, and atmospheric tunes in the early to mid 60s. Whenever I hear something adventurous from McLean in the 60s, it comes as little surprise than Moncur was usually there. They were a great duo.
Listening to a FLAC rip of the Grachan Moncur III Mosaic select set. Always a pleasure.
jackie mclean/grachan moncur iii/lee morgan
The 3Ms: McLean, Moncur and Morgan during the ‘Evolution’ session. I love this picture. A great capture by Francis Wolff.
“When ever I have a conversation about what’s wrong with the jazz business, I always start out by saying, ‘Where is Grachan Moncur?’” - Jackie McLean
Photo of Grachan Moncur III by Francis Wolff (Source)
Born on this day: Grachan Moncur III
He’s truly a one of a kind trombone player. There is no one else like him. There aren’t a lot of pictures of him online. Here are some of him with Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean and Duke Pearson from various sessions photos. These shots are from the Music Matters 45rpm gatefold LP covers.
Moncur is very important, because he was the starting point of the evolution of Blue Note. Up until the early 60s, Blue Note was primarily a “Hard Bop” label. Moncur’s compositions and his early work with Jackie McLean showed them shifting from the traditional Hard Bop idiom, towards the Avant Garde. At least, being receptive of it, and acknowledging the change being issued by the likes of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor. They were trying something different, and Moncur was the man who was driving it on Blue Note. He wrote most of the compositions on Jackie McLean’s “Destination Out”.
His Blue Note debut as a leader was titled “Evolution”, highlighting the change that was on the horizon. Moncur’s and McLean’s early adventurous work was the catalyst that let Francis Wolff become comfortable with recording adventurous albums on Blue Note, a label that wasn’t particularly known for the Avant Garde at the time. Work from Andrew Hill and Cecil Taylor, to the now legendary “Out to Lunch” by Eric Dolphy and later on some Ornette Coleman all became part of Blue Note as well. It wouldn’t have happened on Blue Note without Moncur.
‘Mephistopheles’ is the final track on Wayne Shorter’s amazing ‘The All Seeing Eye’ album. It was written by his brother, Alan Shorter. It’s also the most “far out” cut on the album. Alan’s playing is great, so is Joe Chambers on the drums.
The entire line up for the album is stacked. It includes Herbie Hancock, Grachan Moncur III, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, James Spaulding and Joe Chambers. The entire album is brilliant.
Gatefold cover of Grachan Moncur III’s ‘Evolution’. Francis Wolff always delivers.