Red Prysock

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Wilburt Prysock (February 2, 1926 – July 19, 1993)[1] known as Red Prysock, was an American rhythm and blues tenor saxophonist, one of the early Coleman Hawkins-influenced saxophonists to move in the direction of rhythm and blues, rather than bebop.

While with Tiny Grimes and his Rocking Highlanders, Prysock staged a memorable sax battle with Benny Golson on "Battle of the Mass".[citation needed] He first gained attention as a member of Tiny Bradshaw's band, playing the lead sax solo on his own composition "Soft", which was a hit for the Bradshaw band in 1952. He also played with Roy Milton and Cootie Williams.[citation needed]

In 1954, he signed with Mercury Records as a bandleader, and had his biggest hit, the R&B instrumental "Hand Clappin'" in 1955. That same year, he joined the band that played at Alan Freed's stage shows. He also played on several hit records by his brother, the singer Arthur Prysock, in the 1960s.[citation needed]

Prysock, who was born in 1926 in Greensboro, North Carolina, died of a heart attack in 1993 in Chicago, at the age of 67.[1][2] He served in the United States Army during World War II and was buried at the Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.[3]


  • Rock and Roll (Mercury, 1955)
  • Fruit Boots (Mercury, 1957)
  • The Beat (Mercury, 1957)
  • Swing softly Red (Mercury, 1958)
  • Battle Royal with Sil Austin (Mercury, 1959)
  • The Big Sound of Red Prysock (Forum Circle, 1964)
  • For Me and My Baby (Gateway, 1964; reissued on CD in 2003)


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