|Birth name||George General Grice, Jr.|
|Also known as||Basheer Qusim|
November 28, 1925|
Pensacola, Florida, US
|Died||March 14, 1983
|Occupations||Musician, arranger, composer, educator|
|Instruments||Alto saxophone, flute|
Gigi Gryce born George General Grice, Jr. (November 28, 1925 in Pensacola, Florida – March 14, 1983 in Pensacola, Florida) was an American saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, educator, and big band bandleader.
His performing career was relatively short and, in comparison to other musicians of his generation, Gryce's work is little known. However, several of his compositions have been covered extensively ("Minority", "Social Call", "Nica's Tempo") and have become minor jazz standards. Gryce's compositional bent includes harmonic choices similar to those of contemporaries Benny Golson, Tadd Dameron and Horace Silver. Gryce's playing, arranging, and composing are most associated with the classic hard bop era (roughly 1953–1965).
He retired from music in the early 1960s, due primarily to frustration with the financial side of his career.
Although primarily a jazz musician, Gryce studied classical composition with Alan Hovhaness and Daniel Pinkham at the Boston Conservatory following World War II (he entered September 15, 1947 and obtained a Bachelor of Music degree on June 6, 1952). While there, he may have composed a number of symphonic compositions and chamber works. Gryce won a Fulbright scholarship and continued his studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Arthur Honegger. He also studied composition with the Boston music teacher Madame Margaret Chaloff, the mother of the baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff.
During the 1950s he achieved some renown for his innovative bebop playing, his primary instrument being the alto saxophone. Among the musicians with whom Gryce performed were Thelonious Monk, Tadd Dameron, Lionel Hampton, Donald Byrd, Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, Howard McGhee, Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Oscar Pettiford, Teddy Charles, and Benny Golson. In 1955, Gryce formed the Jazz Lab Quintet, which included trumpeter Donald Byrd.
In the mid-1950s he converted to Islam and adopted the name Basheer Qusim. By the early 1960s he stopped using the name Gigi Gryce and, partly due to personal problems that took their toll on his financial and emotional state, withdrew from performing. During this last period of his life he taught at a series of public schools in Long Island and New York City. The CES (Community Elementary School) 53 on 168th Street in Bronx, New York, the last school at which Qusim taught, was renamed as the "Basheer Qusim School" in his honor.
- 1954–55 When Farmer Met Gryce (Prestige) – with Art Farmer
- 1955 Art Farmer Quintet featuring Gigi Gryce (Prestige)
- 1955 Do It Yourself Jazz (Savoy) – with Duke Jordan, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke
- 1955 Nica's Tempo (Savoy Records)
- 1955 Gigi Gryce (Signal) – with Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey
- 1957 Jazz Labaratory Series 1+2 (Savoy Records)
- 1957 Jazz Lab (Columbia) – with Donald Byrd
- 1957 Gigi Gryce and the Jazz Lab Quintet (Riverside)
- 1957 At Newport (Verve) – with Donald Byrd [One side of LP shared with Cecil Taylor]
- 1957 Modern Jazz Perspective (Columbia) – with Donald Byrd and Jackie Paris
- 1958 Gigi Gryce (MetroJazz Records)
- 1960 Saying Somethin'! (New Jazz)
- 1960 The Hap'nin's (New Jazz)
- 1960 The Rat Race Blues (New Jazz)
- 1960 Reminiscin' (Mercury) – with Eddie Costa
- 2011 Doing' The Gigi – previously unissued tracks 1957–1961 (Uptown Records UPCD 27.64)
With Art Blakey
- Blakey (EmArcy, 1954)
With Clifford Brown
- Clifford Brown Memorial (OJC, 1953)
- Memorial Album (Blue Note, 1953)
- The Clifford Brown Sextet in Paris (Prestige PR 7794, Released 1970, Recorded 1953)
With Betty Carter
With Teddy Charles
- The Teddy Charles Tentet (Atlantic, 1956)
With Dizzy Gillespie
With Benny Golson
- Benny Golson's New York Scene (Contemporary, 1957)
With Thelonious Monk
With Lee Morgan
- Lee Morgan Vol. 3 (1957)
With Mal Waldron
- Mal-1 (Prestige, 1956)
With Randy Weston
- Uhuru Afrika (Roulette, 1960)
- Yanow, Scott. Gigi Gryce at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- Wynn, Ron (1994), Ron Wynn, ed., All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, p. 299, ISBN 0-87930-308-5
- Gryce, Gigi, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Edited by Barry Kernfeld, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988
- Cohen, Noal, and Michael Fitzgerald (2002). Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce. Foreword by Benny Golson. Berkeley, California: Berkeley Hills Books.
- "Gigi Gryce" by David Griffith, from All About Jazz website
- Gigi Gryce site
- List of CDs featuring appearances by Gigi Gryce
- Detailed discography of Gigi Gryce and additions and corrections to Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce