John Gross

John Gross - american jazz tenor sax - GAM Music

tenor sax, soprano sax


American saxophone, flute and clarinet player John Gross is widely recognized for his very original and eloquent voice as a soloist.

He is also the creator of a notational method called Multiphonics for the Saxophone.

Raised in a musical family, he launched his professional career at age 8 in Los Angeles, playing clarinet for the L.A. County Parks and Recreation Youth Orchestra. As a child and youth Gross played in the Burbank Youth Symphony, All-Southern California Junior High School Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, L.A. All-City High School Band, I.O.F. Robin Hood Youth Band, and Sepulveda Youth Band.

From the tender age of 14, John Gross earned his jazz improv chops in L.A.’s jazz scene playing at venues such as the Hillcrest Club on Washington Boulevard with jazz greats such as Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Gary Peacock, and Horace Tapscott, who were participants of the scene at the time, and the shapers of L.A. jazz.

At age 16, Gross dropped out of the California State University, Northridge, and hit the road with Harry James. The band was playing on a bill with the famous crooner Billy Eckstine.

Gross continued to work in top-level bands in the early ’60s, touring with Lionel Hampton, Johnny Mathis, Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman.

In the mid-60s, Gross was playing at the Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach with regulars Warne Marsh, Frank Strazzieri, Putter Smith, Sam Most, Jimmy Zito, Sal Nistico, and Dave Koonse.

Gross spent five years (1967–1972) as house band member at Shelly Manne’s Hollywood club, “Shelly’s Manne-Hole,” playing opposite such jazz greats as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Abbey Lincoln, and Muddy Waters. He toured Europe with Manne in 1970 playing on “Alive in London”, recorded during a residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.

Gross spent four years (1979–1983) touring worldwide with Toshiko Akiyoshi’s big band, including a gig at Carnegie Hall. The Toshiko Akiyoshi – Lew Tabackin Big Band was known for its wild “tenor battles” between Gross and Toshiko’s husband Lew Tabackin.

Among the countless other musicians Gross has played, toured and/or recorded with are Oliver Nelson, Don Ellis, Gerald Wilson, Bill Holman, Alan Jones Sextet, Piotr Wojtasik, Billy Mintz, and Gordon Lee.

He has also performed with Rosemary Clooney, Nancy King, Diana Krall, Freddie Hubbard, Larry Young, Donald Bailey, Drew Gress, Dave Holland, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Glen Moore, Gary Versace, Alain Jean-Marie, Larry Koonse, The Belmondo Brothers, and Francois Theberge.

Gross received a Grammy nomination (best jazz album and best jazz soloist) for his 1990 trio album “Three Play” with bassist Putter Smith and guitarist Larry Koonse. He moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1990, and in Octobre, 2016, to Vancouver, B.C..

“One of the most meaningful players on the American jazz scene.” Saxophone Journal

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Album putter smith night song - GAM Music

Night Song

Bass wizard Putter Smith convened a group of highly individual master instrumentalists who weaved a mysterious, lush, profound message of beauty.