Green, “Freddie” Frederick William (1911-1987)

Born in Charleston and died in Las Vegas, Green attended Charleston’s Morris Brown A.M.E. Church as a boy; studied music at the Jenkins Orphanage though not a resident; toured with the Jenkins Orphanage Band as a vocalist in the late 1920s; his vocal version of “Them There Eyes” was recorded in 1938 with the Kansas City Seven including Lester Young and Buck Clayton; highly regarded as a composer including Basie standards, “Corner Pocket” (later renamed “Until I Met You” for the vocal version and popularized by Sarah Vaughn), “Down for Double,” and “Right On”; performed with Billie Holiday on some of her greatest recordings including “The Loneliest Man In Town”, “Why Was I Born”, and “I Must Have That Man”; also recorded with Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Joe Sullivan, Illinois Jacquet, and Lester Young; joined Count Basie Orchestra as a rhythm guitarist (his first instrument was the banjo) in 1937 and remained until Basie’s death; Green rarely soloed but a good example is the 1935 recording of “Topsy”; won the Melody Maker Critics’ Poll in 1957 (guitar division) and the Down Beat Critics poll in 1958; by Basie’s own account, Green as the definitive rhythm guitarist, along with bassist, Walter Page and drummer, Jo Jones, set the pace of the band and defined American swing; Green was the longest serving member of the Basie band and is universally acknowledged as the greatest rhythm guitarist in jazz history, hands down.

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Selected Albums


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