This week, Resonance Records will release three of Green’s concert recordings that had been buried in archives for more than forty years.
The first two are on the two-disk set “Funk in France: From Paris to Antibes (1969-1970),” and come from France’s audiovisual archive; the third, “Slick!—Live at Oil Can Harry’s,” was recorded in Vancouver, in 1975, by a Canadian radio station; and both albums offer revelatory delights.
Green (who was born in 1935 and died in 1979) recorded copiously from 1961 to 1971, mostly on the Blue Note label, both as a leader and as a sideman, and his musical range was wide. He said that he learned to play guitar by listening to and playing along with the records of the pioneering bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker, and, though Green often played blues-based music, accompanied by an electric-organist, he was most celebrated for his forward-reaching performances alongside leading post-bop modernists of the day (such as Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Joe Henderson). He’s the most original jazz guitarist of his time, along with Wes Montgomery, whose sound was more distinctive and who projected a clearer musical personality. Green’s work, whatever the context, maintained an air of abstraction and concentration that was more searching.