Jimmy Garrison

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Jimmy Garrison
Birth name Jimmy Garrison
Born (1934-03-03)March 3, 1934
Americus, Georgia, USA
Died April 7, 1976(1976-04-07) (aged 42)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Double bassist
Instruments Double bass
Associated acts John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman

Jimmy Garrison (March 3, 1934 – April 7, 1976)[1] was an American jazz double bassist born in Miami, Florida. He is best remembered for his long association with John Coltrane from 1961–1967.[2]


Garrison was raised in both Miami,Florida and Philadelphia where he learned to play bass. Garrison came of age in the midst of a thriving Philadelphia jazz scene that included fellow bassists Reggie Workman and Henry Grimes, pianist McCoy Tyner and trumpeter Lee Morgan. Between 1957 and 1962, Garrison played and recorded with trumpeter Kenny Dorham; clarinetist Tony Scott; drummer Philly Joe Jones; and saxophonists Bill Barron, Lee Konitz, and Jackie McLean, as well as Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Lennie Tristano, Pharoah Sanders, and Tony Scott, among others.[3] In 1959 he first appeared on record with Ornette Coleman on "Art of the Improvisers" (Atlantic, 1959); the following year he appeared on John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" (Atlantic, 1960). He continued to work with many leaders, including Walter Bishop, Jr., Coleman, Dorham, and Cal Massey for the next two years.

He formally joined Coltrane's quartet in 1962, replacing Workman. The long trio blues "Chasin' the Trane" is probably his first recorded performance with Coltrane and Elvin Jones. Garrison performed on many classic Coltrane recordings, including A Love Supreme. In concert with Coltrane, Garrison would often play unaccompanied improvised solos, sometimes as the prelude to a song before the other musicians joined in. After Coltrane's death, Garrison worked and recorded with Hampton Hawes, Archie Shepp, Clifford Thornton and groups led by Elvin Jones.[2]

Garrison also had a long association with Ornette Coleman, first recording with him on Ornette on Tenor and Art of the Improvisers. He and drummer Elvin Jones have been credited with eliciting more forceful playing than usual from Coleman on the albums New York is Now and Love Call.

Personal life[edit]

Jimmy Garrison had four daughters and a son. Lori, Joy and Robin with his first wife Robbie Garrison, Maia Claire and Matthew with his second wife, Italy based dancer and choreographer Roberta Escamilla Garrison. Matthew, Joy and Maia Claire are also accomplished artists in their own right. Joy Garrison, sang alongside Barney Kessel, Cameron Brown, Tony Scott and many others. Matthew Garrison is a bass guitar player. He has performed and recorded with Joe Zawinul, Chaka Khan, The Saturday Night Live Band, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Steve Coleman, Whitney Houston, Pino Daniele, John Scofield, Paul Simon, Tito Puente and many others.[4] Garrison's daughter Maia Claire is a dancer and choreographer who worked as a child acrobat with Big Apple Circus in New York, a featured dancer with Urban Bush Women and founder of her own dance company M'Zawa Danz.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Ornette Coleman

With John Coltrane

With Ted Curson

With Kenny Dorham

With Curtis Fuller

With Elvin Jones

With Philly Joe Jones

With Lee Konitz

  • Live at the Half Note (Verve, 1959)

With Rolf Kühn and Joachim Kühn

With Jackie McLean

With Sonny Rollins

With Archie Shepp

With Clifford Thornton

  • Freedom & Unity (New World Records, 1967)


  1. ^ Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "Garrison, Jimmy". In Barry Kernfeld. The new Grove dictionary of jazz, vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 18. ISBN 1561592846. 
  2. ^ a b Kelsey, Chris. "Allmusic Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jimmy-garrison-mn0000853359/biography
  4. ^ "Matthew Garrison-Bass Guitar". Garrisonjazz.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25.