Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce

by Noal Cohen and Michael Fitzgerald

We have been involved in several projects on alto saxophonist/composer Gigi Gryce. These projects involve biography, discography, bibliography, interviews, musical analysis and appreciation. The most important of these has now been published and is available directly from Noal Cohen

What are folks saying about the book?

Extensive new research was conducted and subjects who contributed interviews or information include: 

Chris Albertson, David Amram, Margie Anderson, Harold B. Andrews, Fred Baker, Danny Bank, Ran Blake, Walter Bolden, Don Butterfield, Teddy Charles, Valerie Grice Claiborne, Jimmy Cleveland, Bob Cranshaw, Bill Crow, Dr. Art Davis, Al Dreares, Evelyn DuBose, Esmond Edwards, Bunky Emerson, Julian Euell, Art Farmer, Mort Fega, Ira Gitler, Benny Golson, Aurelia Greene, Rev. Jerome Greene, Lorenzo Greenwich, Dick Griffin, Eleanor Gryce, Tommy Gryce, Clifford Gunn, Vinnie Haynes, Jon Hendricks, Nat Hentoff, Raymond Horricks, Thomas James, Hank Jones, Dick Katz, Orrin Keepnews, Brooks Kerr, Wolfgang Knittel, Jack Lazare, Aaron Long, Norman Macklin, Dr. Makanda Ken McIntyre, Louis-Victor Mialy, Bob Mover, Anthony Ortega, Harold Ousley, Cecil Payne, Walter Perkins, Daniel Pinkham, Bobby Porcelli, Benny Powell, Ollie Qusim, Henri Renaud, Jerome Richardson, Sam Rivers, Mickey Roker, Don Schlitten, Dr. Donald Shirley, Horace Silver, Emery Smith, Clifford Solomon, Idrees Sulieman, Kellice Swaggerty, Edwin Swanston, Clark Terry, Ben Tucker, Bob Weinstock, Chris White, Reggie Workman, Judge Bruce Wright, Phil Wright, Richard Wyands.

The resources of institutions such as the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies (Newark, NJ), Library of Congress (Washington, DC), National Archives (New York, NY), Jazz-Institut Darmstadt (Germany), U.S. Navy, Boston Conservatory, New York Public Schools, and many others were accessed for details into publishing, genealogy, education, travel, and, of course, his distinguished performing and recording career.

There are many revelations in this work. There has been a huge amount of misinformation distributed, published, and propagated. Years were spent researching his life and the music and this new work dispels many long-standing myths that have been perpetuated for nearly a half century and provides the first accurate view of Gryce's accomplishments and contributions to the world of music. Unfortunately, the (very few) people who have written about Gryce in the past (mostly in passing or as a footnote) have not even heard his entire oeuvre. 

Additionally, numerous never-before-published photographs of Gryce are included. These are beautiful shots by such artists as Francis Wolff, Bob Parent, Chuck Stewart, Jerry Dantzic, Louis-Victor Mialy, Don Schlitten, Ernest Zwonicek, and Ray Ross.

This book (456 pages) features a foreword by Benny Golson, full discography including private recordings and unissued material, composition index, catalog of Gryce's publishing companies as well as ten chapters of narrative telling the remarkable story of Gigi Gryce.

Second Floor Music may be issuing the music of Gigi Gryce in various formats in the future. Please contact them for details.

We are sure that there will be a new interest in Gryce and his music and hope that we may still learn more about this fascinating figure. If you have information that might be of use, please e-mail mike at jazzdiscography.com 

Updates and corrections to the book are available online. 

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