Gryce, Gigi [Quism, Basheer] (Pensacola,
FL, 28 Nov 1927 - Pensacola, 17 arch 1983)
Alto saxophonist, arranger, and composer
He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut,
and began studies in composition with Daniel Pinkham
and Alan Hovhaness at the Boston Conservatory in
1948; having won a Fulbright scholarship, he continued his studies in Paris
with Nadia Boulanger and Arthur Honegger.
After his return to the USA
he became involved in jazz in New York,
where he performed and recorded with Max Roach, Howard McGhee, Tadd Dameron, and Clifford Brown
in 1953; later that year he toured Europe with Lionel Hampton's band. In 1954 he recorded with Donald Byrd, Lee
Morgan, Thelonious Monk, and others, and the
following year he began leading his own group, the Jazz Lab Quintet, which also
included Byrd. In the 1960s he ceased playing jazz professionally and became a
Besides his principal instrument Gryce
played clarinet and flute. His style was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker,
though he had a thinner tone than Parker and lacked his melodic inventiveness.
His skills as an arranger are represented by his recordings with Brown, Dizzy
Gillespie, and Oscar Pettiford. His best-known jazz
composition is Minority; among his classical compositions are three symphonies and
various chamber works.
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, © Macmillan Reference Ltd