Albert Thornton " Al " Grey ( born June 6, 1925 in Aldie, Virginia; † March 24, 2000 in Phoenix, Arizona) was a leading jazz trombonist of the 20th century. As a member of the Count Basie Big Band he has contributed to some at their greatest successes. Al Grey dominated the use of the plunger damper like no other.
Life and work
Grey grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. During the Second World War he served in the U.S. Marine service. During this time he developed his trombone playing, which enabled him to get started as a band member Benny Carter after the war. As a result, he played with in various formations, including Lionel Hampton and Big Band Dizzy Gillespie. In October 1957 Count Basie discovered him by chance and hired him for the imminent European tour. His trumpet solos can be heard on many Count Basie recordings. But the melody supports for Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra are considered legendary.
After 1961 Grey only appeared sporadically with the Count Basie Orchestra. He founded his own formations and worked with many jazz dimensions, including Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. With John Gordon and other trombonists he formed ensembles such as Trombones Incorporated or Trombone Summit. Al Grey was tirelessly on tour and was also regularly seen in clubs and at festivals in Europe. In his audience he was very popular because of its humor and its ability to entrain this.