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Gene Ammons: Boss Tenor Sax

 Gene Ammons on the cover of 1960's <em>Boss Tenor</em>.
Courtesy of Prestige
Gene Ammons on the cover of 1960's Boss Tenor.

Gene "Jug" Ammons was one of the tenor giants of his era. He had a big, deep tone that was perfect for everything from warm ballads to groove-intensive blues or sweet swing. He could blow with the best, too. Ammons' record label, Prestige, allowed him to record prolifically in the '50s and early '60s because he was so popular. Fortunately, the wealth of recordings allowed Ammons to maintain his popularity while, from 1962 to '69, he was incarcerated on a drug-possession conviction. Though Ammons died in 1974, his music has withstood the test of time.

Gene Ammons: Boss Tenor Sax

Groove Blues

From 'Groove Blues'

By Gene Ammons

This groove is so bright, and spirited you can barely spot a trace of blue in it until Ammons breaks into a solo a bit into the tune. The flute, provided by Jerome Richardson, adds considerable brightness. Jazz legends John Coltrane, Paul Quinichette, Pepper Adams, and Mal Waldron round out this album's all-star cast.

Willow Weep for Me

From 'Gene Ammons Story: Gentle Jug'

By Gene Ammons

This standard is especially blue and soulful in Ammons' hands. It starts as a mellow ballad, breaks into a light swing, then winds back down into a slower pace. The Gene Ammons Story combines songs from two Ammons albums, Nice an' Cool and The Soulful Mood of Gene Ammons.

Canadian Sunset

From 'Boss Tenor [RVG Remaster]'

By Gene Ammons

The warm, full sound of Ammons' tenor sax captures attention just as well as a beautiful sunset. Ray Baretto is featured on conga, which adds a slightly Latin feel to this Canada-inspired tune.

The Party's Over

From 'Late Hour Special'

By Gene Ammons

It feels like the party might be over, but it's definitely continuing somewhere else afterwards. "The Party's Over" features Ammons working with a larger ensemble, conducted by Oliver Nelson.

Ol' Man River

From 'Jug'

By Gene Ammons

The introduction of this tune sounds as if Ammons captured the flow of a river through his tenor sax. The song picks up into a steady, swinging current from there.

Copyright 2008 90.5 WESA

Shaunna Morrison Machosky