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Gene Ammons: Boss Tenor Sax

Gene Ammons on the cover of 1960's Boss Tenor. Courtesy of Prestige hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Prestige

Gene Ammons on the cover of 1960's Boss Tenor.

Courtesy of Prestige

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

Groove Blues

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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.

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Song
Groove Blues
Album
Groove Blues
Artist
Gene Ammons
Label
Ojc
Released
1958

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Gene Ammons Story: Gentle Jug

Willow Weep for Me

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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.

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Song
Gene Ammons Story: Gentle Jug
Album
Gene Ammons Story: Gentle Jug
Artist
Gene Ammons
Label
Prestige
Released
1961

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Boss Tenor

Canadian Sunset

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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.

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Song
Boss Tenor [RVG Remaster]
Album
Boss Tenor [RVG Remaster]
Artist
Gene Ammons
Label
Prestige
Released
1960

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Late Hour Special

Party's Over

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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.

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Song
Late Hour Special
Album
Late Hour Special
Artist
Gene Ammons
Label
Original Jazz Classics
Released
1961

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Jug

Ol' Man River

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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.

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Song
Jug
Album
Jug
Artist
Gene Ammons
Label
JVC Japan
Released
1961

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