Grassella Oliphant

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Grassella Oliphant (September 1, 1929 in Pittsburgh) is an American jazz drummer.

Oliphant backed Ahmad Jamal in 1952 and Sarah Vaughan in the late 1950s, then worked with Gloria Lynne and Shirley Scott.

He released two soul jazz albums as a leader on Atlantic Records in the 1960s. The Grass Roots, released in 1965, saw Oliphant working with saxophonist Harold Ousley, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and bassist Ray McKinney. His 1968 release The Grass Is Greener featured John Patton on organ, Grant Green on guitar, Clark Terry on trumpet, and Major Holley on bass, in addition to Ousley. The Grass Is Greener has been repeatedly sampled by hip hop artists. Both albums were reissued on CD by Collectables Records as a single disc in 2005.

After an almost 40-years hiatus from music, working as the manager of a golf course, Oliphant resumed playing in the 2000s, this time in the New Jersey area. During his 2007 NAMM Oral History Program interview, Oliphant spoke about his early days in jazz and the many changes he has witnessed during his career, especially those related to the development of instruments and musical products.


With Shirley Scott


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