Bunky Green

Last updated
Bunky Green
Birth nameVernice Green
Born (1933-04-23) April 23, 1933 (age 89)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Instrument(s)Alto saxophone
Years active1940s–1980s
Labels Exodus, Argo, Vanguard, Delos, Pi, Label Bleu

Vernice "Bunky" Green (born April 23, 1933) is an American jazz alto saxophonist and educator.



Green was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he played the alto saxophone, mainly at a local club called "The Brass Rail".

Green's first break came when he was hired in New York City by Charles Mingus as a replacement for Jackie McLean in the 1950s. His brief stint with the bass player and composer made a deep impression. Mingus' sparing use of notation and his belief that there was no such thing as a wrong note had a lasting influence on Green's own style.

Green moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he performed with players such as Sonny Stitt, Louie Bellson, Andrew Hill, Yusef Lateef, and Ira Sullivan. Originally strongly influenced by Charlie Parker, Green spent a period reassessing his style and studying, emerging with a highly distinctive sound that has deeply influenced a number of younger saxophonists, including Steve Coleman and Greg Osby.

Green gradually withdrew from the public eye to develop a career as a jazz educator. He taught at Chicago State University from 1972–1989, and in the 1990s took up the directorship of the jazz studies program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where he taught and acted as chair of Jazz Studies until his retirement in 2011. He has also served a term as the president of the International Association for Jazz Education and been elected to the Jazz Education Hall of Fame.

Green recorded several albums during the 1960s, including Step High (featuring Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb), Playing for Keeps, and Soul in the Night (which paired Green with Sonny Stitt). In addition to a handful of records as a leader on the Vanguard label during the 1970s, he also recorded several albums with Elvin Jones, including Summit Meeting and Time Capsule . His 1989 session on the Delos label, Healing the Pain , commemorates the death of his parents and was awarded the coveted 5-star rating from DownBeat magazine. Green's studio album, Another Place (which features the rhythm section of Jason Moran, Lonnie Plaxico, and Nasheet Waits), also received a 5-star review from Down Beat. In July 2008, his recording The Salzau Quartet Live at Jazz Baltica was released.


As leader/co-leader

As sideman

With Fontella Bass

With others

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sonny Fortune</span> American jazz saxophonist

Cornelius "Sonny" Fortune was an American jazz saxophonist. Fortune played soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, clarinet, and flute.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gene Ammons</span> American jazz tenor saxophonist

Eugene "Jug" Ammons, also known as "The Boss", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. The son of boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons, Gene Ammons is remembered for his accessible music, steeped in soul and R&B.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elvin Jones</span> American jazz drummer (1927–2004)

Elvin Ray Jones was an American jazz drummer of the post-bop era.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sonny Stitt</span> American jazz saxophonist

Edward Hammond Boatner Jr., known professionally as Sonny Stitt, was an American jazz saxophonist of the bebop/hard bop idiom. Known for his warm tone, he was one of the best-documented saxophonists of his generation, recording more than 100 albums. He was nicknamed the "Lone Wolf" by jazz critic Dan Morgenstern because of his relentless touring and devotion to jazz yet rarely worked with the same musicians for long. Stitt was sometimes viewed as a Charlie Parker mimic, especially earlier in his career, but gradually came to develop his own sound and style, particularly when performing on tenor saxophone and even occasionally baritone saxophone.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thad Jones</span> American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader

Thaddeus Joseph Jones was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who has been called "one of the all-time greatest jazz trumpet soloists".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Coleman</span> American jazz saxophonist

George Edward Coleman is an American jazz saxophonist known for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 1960s. In 2015, he was named an NEA Jazz Master.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Farrell</span> American jazz musician

Joseph Carl Firrantello, known as Joe Farrell, was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist who primarily performed as a saxophonist and flutist. He is best known for a series of albums under his own name on the CTI record label and for playing in the initial incarnation of Chick Corea's Return to Forever.

Bennie Green was an American jazz trombonist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clifford Jordan</span> American jazz saxophone player

Clifford Laconia Jordan was an American jazz tenor saxophone player. While in Chicago, he performed with Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, and some rhythm and blues groups. He moved to New York City in 1957, after which he recorded three albums for Blue Note. He recorded with Horace Silver, J.J. Johnson, and Kenny Dorham, among others. He was part of the Charles Mingus Sextet, with Eric Dolphy, during its 1964 European tour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack McDuff</span> American jazz organist and bandleader

Eugene McDuff, known professionally as "Brother" Jack McDuff or "Captain" Jack McDuff, was an American jazz organist and organ trio bandleader who was most prominent during the hard bop and soul jazz era of the 1960s, often performing with an organ trio. He is also credited with giving guitarist George Benson his first break.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Holloway</span> American jazz saxophonist

James Wesley "Red" Holloway was an American jazz saxophonist.

Walter "Baby Sweets" Perkins was an American jazz drummer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Albert Dailey</span> American jazz pianist

Albert Preston Dailey was an American jazz pianist.

Don Patterson was an American jazz organist.

Charles Stepney was an American record producer, arranger, songwriter and musician. Stepney is noted for his work with artists such as The Dells, Ramsey Lewis, Rotary Connection and Earth, Wind & Fire.

<i>Summit Meeting</i> (Elvin Jones album) 1977 studio album by Elvin Jones, James Moody, Clark Terry, Bunky Green and Roland Prince

Summit Meeting is a jazz album by drummer Elvin Jones, saxophonists James Moody and Bunky Green, trumpeter Clark Terry and guitarist Roland Prince recorded in 1976 and released on the Vanguard label.

<i>Time Capsule</i> (Elvin Jones album) 1977 studio album by Elvin Jones

Time Capsule is a jazz album by drummer Elvin Jones recorded in 1976–77 and released on the Vanguard label.

<i>Soul in the Night</i> 1966 studio album by Sonny Stitt and Bunky Green

Soul in the Night is an album by saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Bunky Green recorded in Chicago in 1966 and released on the Cadet label.

<i>Mr. Bojangles</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Sonny Stitt

Mr. Bojangles is an album by saxophonist Sonny Stitt recorded in 1973 and released on the Cadet label.

<i>Playin for Keeps</i> (Bunky Green album) 1966 studio album by Bunky Green

Playin' for Keeps is an album by saxophonist Bunky Green recorded in Chicago and released by the Cadet label in 1966.