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Gene Ammons

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My Romance Gene Ammons 04:16
The Moody Blues Gene Ammons, Dodo Marmarosa 04:13
Blues Up And Down Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt 08:48
Canadian Sunset Gene Ammons 05:26
My Foolish Heart Gene Ammons 02:47
Pennies From Heaven Gene Ammons 02:38
There Is No Greater Love Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt 06:28
My Foolish Heart Gene Ammons 02:47
Close Your Eyes Gene Ammons 03:46
It's You Or No One Gene Ammons 03:09

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Hittin' The Jug
Close Your Eyes
My Romance
Canadian Sunset

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American jazz tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons was the son of boogie-woogie jazz pianist Albert Ammons. He studied with Walter Dyett at DuSable High School and was already being noticed for his talent before he left the school. In 1943 he went on tour with trumpeter King Kolax and his band. He then became a member of Billy Eckstine's Big Band in 1944 playing alongside musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dexter Goodman, with whom he featured in a saxophone duel on the track 'Blowing the Blues Away' in 1944. He was given the nickname 'Jug' by Eckstine, reportedly because the hats which the band were supposed to wear were too small for him.

Ammons had his first hit 'Red Top' in 1947 and set up several jazz combination groups from 1947 onwards featuring musicians such as Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt. In 1949 he replaced Stan Getz as the tenor saxophonist in Second Herd, the band led by Woody Herman. Ammons began a prolific period of success in the early 1950s, with hits such as 'My Foolish Heart' in 1950 reaching Billboard Magazine's Black Pop Charts. He co-led a popular two-tenor band with Sonny Stitt and played alongside many renowned jazz musicians including Donald Byrd, John Coltrane, Jackie McLean and Duke Jordan. In 1955 he had a hit with 'The Happy Blues' featuring Freddie Redd and Lou Donaldson.

The later part of Ammons' career was disrupted by two prison sentences for narcotics possession from 1958-60 and 1962-69. Despite this, he became one of the founders of the soul-jazz movement in the mid-'60s, with the combination of tenor saxophone and Hammond organ becoming popular. He carried on his partnership with Stitt, and their joint album 'Boss Tenors' was released in 1961.

Ammons also inspired many tenor saxophonists as co-founder of the Chicago Tenor Saxophone School with fellow American saxophonist Von Freeman. Ammons' legacy lives on in the use of his music by Santana, King Pleasure and Les McCann amongst others. He died of cancer in 1974 aged 49.