Paul Jeffrey

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Paul Jeffrey
Paul JEFFREY MJC Picaud.jpg
Background information
Born(1933-04-08)April 8, 1933
OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 20, 2015(2015-03-20) (aged 81)
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, and educator
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone

Paul Jeffrey (April 8, 1933 – March 20, 2015)[1][2] was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, arranger, and educator. He was a member of Thelonious Monk's regular group from 1970–1975, and also worked extensively with other musicians such as Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie,[3] Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton and B.B. King.[4]


Born in New York City,[5] Jeffrey attended Kingston High School. After graduating in 1951, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in music education at Ithaca College in 1955.[5] He spent the late 1950s touring with bands led by Illinois Jacquet, Elmo Hope, Big Maybelle, and Wynonie Harris.[5] From 1960 to 1961, Jeffrey toured the US with B.B. King,[5] after which he worked as a freelance musician in the New York City area and toured with bands led by Howard McGhee, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie.[5][6]

Jeffrey's first studio work as a leader was in 1968, when he recorded the album Electrifying Sounds for Savoy Records. He toured with the Count Basie Orchestra before beginning his associations with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.[5] He first joined Monk's quartet for a multi-day run at the Frog & Nightgown club in Raleigh, North Carolina, in May 1970.[7]

Jeffrey performed as a regular member of Monk's band throughout the remainder of Monk's public career,[5] appearing with Monk throughout the US and Japan at the Village Vanguard, Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall, the Jazz Workshop, Shelly's Manne-Hole, and The Cellar Door, among other venues. He was hired by George Wein to organize a 15-piece band for a tribute concert to Monk at Carnegie Hall in 1974; a concert at which Monk made a surprise appearance, replacing Barry Harris on the piano just as the concert was starting.[8]

In the 1970s, Jeffrey served on the music faculties at the University of Hartford, Rutgers University,[5] Jersey City State College and others. In 1983, Jeffrey joined Duke University as Artist in Residence and Director of Jazz Studies, positions he held until he retired and became Professor Emeritus in 2003. [9]

In 2009, Jeffrey recorded a tribute to Thelonious Monk with the French label Imago records distributed by Orkhestra International, with Alessandro Collina on piano, Sebastien Adnot on bass and Laurent Sarrien on drums.

He died in North Carolina after a lengthy illness, aged 81.[10]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Sam Rivers

With Charles Moffett

With Thelonious Monk


  1. ^ Keepnews, Peter (April 8, 2015). "Paul Jeffrey, Saxophonist Who Played With Monk and Mingus, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "#RIP Disparition du saxophoniste américain Paul Jeffrey". March 24, 2015.
  3. ^ "Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band with Paul Jeffrey". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  4. ^ Duke Flags Lowered: Saxophonist, Composer Paul Jeffrey Dies,; accessed March 24, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 227. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  6. ^ Paul Jeffrey resume, Paul Jeffrey Papers, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University.
  7. ^ Sam Stephenson, “Thelonious Monk – Is This Home?” Oxford American 58 (2007)
  8. ^ Robin D.G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Time of an American Original (New York: Free Press, 2009)
  9. ^ Guide to the Paul Jeffrey Papers, 1969-2006, Duke University Libraries; accessed December 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "Saxophonist and Educator Paul Jeffrey Dies at 81". Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "Electrifying Sounds of the Paul Jeffrey Quintet - Paul Jeffrey | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  12. ^ "Paul Jeffrey Leader Entry".
  13. ^ "Paul Jeffrey Quartet – Theolonious Monk Tribute – We See".
  14. ^ Brilliant Corners: A Bio-discography of Thelonious Monk. Greenwood Publishing Group. March 7, 2001. p. 201. ISBN 9780313302398 – via Google Books.