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Grachan Moncur III

Grachan Moncur III (June 3, 1937 – June 3, 2022) was an American jazz trombonist. He was one of the first free jazz trombonists, as well as a prolific composer. He is the son of jazz bassist Grachan Moncur II.

Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, USA, Grachan began playing the cello at age nine, and switched to the trombone at eleven. In high school he attended the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, the private school where Dizzy Gillespie studied. While still in school he began sitting in with touring jazz musicians on their way through town, such as Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.

After high school he toured with Ray Charles (1959-1962), Art Farmer and Benny Golson's Jazztet (1962), and Sonny Rollins, and played and recorded with Marion Brown, Joe Henderson, and Archie Shepp. He took part in two classic Jackie McLean albums in the early 1960s, One Step Beyond and Destination Out, which led to two influential albums of his own for Blue Note Records, Evolution (1963) with Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, and Some Other Stuff (1964) with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

After leaving Blue Note, Grachan recorded with other avant-garde players like Archie Shepp, Beaver Harris and Roswell Rudd (the other big name in free jazz trombone), as well as recording several albums of his own for European labels, including New Africa (1969) and Echoes of Prayer (1974), which featured a full orchestra plus vocalists and jazz soloists. Unfortunately, he was plagued by health problems and copyright disputes, and spent a long period in obscurity. Through the 1980s he recorded with Cassandra Wilson (1985), appeared occasionally with the Paris Reunion Band and Frank Lowe, and recorded another album, Soul Connection, in 1983, but mostly concentrated on teaching. In 2004 he re-emerged with a new album, Exploration on Capri Records featuring Grachan's compositions arranged for an octet including Tim Hagans and Gary Bartz. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.