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Arthur Blythe

Arthur Blythe

born on 5/7/1940 in Los Angeles, CA, United States

died on 27/3/2017 in Los Angeles, CA, United States

Arthur Blythe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Arthur Blythe

Arthur Blythe (born May 7, 1940, in Los Angeles, California) is an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer. His stylistic voice has a distinct vibrato and he plays within the post-bop subgenre of jazz.[1]


Blythe lived in San Diego, California, returning to Los Angeles when he was 19 years old. He took up the alto saxophone at the age of nine, playing R&B until his mid-teens when he discovered jazz.[2] In the mid-1960s he was part of The Underground Musicians and Artists Association (UGMAA), west coast counterpart to Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) founded by Horace Tapscott, on whose 1969 The Giant Is Awakened, Blythe made his recording debut.

After moving to New York in the mid-70s, he worked as a security guard before being offered a place as sideman for Chico Hamilton[2] (75-77). He subsequently played with Gil Evans Orchestra (76-78), Lester Bowie (78), Jack DeJohnette (79) and McCoy Tyner (79).[3] The Arthur Blythe band of 1979 - John Hicks, Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall - played Carnegie Hall and the Village Vanguard.

Blythe started to record as a leader in 1977 for the India Navigation label and then for Columbia records from 1978 to 1987. Albums such as The Grip and Metamorphosis (both on India Navigation) offered capable, highly refined jazz fare with a free angle that made Blythe too "out there" for the general public, but endeared him to the more serious jazz fans. Blythe played on many pivotal albums of the 1980s, among them Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition on ECM. Blythe was a member of the all-star jazz group The Leaders and, after the departure of Julius Hemphill, he joined the World Saxophone Quartet. Beginning in 2000 he made recordings on Savant Records which included Exhale (2003) with John Hicks (piano), Bob Stewart (tuba), and Cecil Brooks III (drums).

Personal Life

Blythe is married to Queen Bey, the renowned international Jazz & Blues singer from Kansas City, Missouri. They currently live in California. Ms. Bey continues to sing and perform her latest one woman show Bessie's Blues on the West coast and in the Mid-west.


As leader

Year Title Label
1977 The Grip India Navigation
1977 Metamorphosis India Navigation
1977 Bush Baby Adelphi
1978 In the Tradition Columbia
1978 Lenox Avenue Breakdown Columbia
1980 Illusions Columbia
1981 Blythe Spirit Columbia
1982 Elaborations Columbia
1983 Light Blue: Arthur Blythe Plays Thelonious Monk Columbia
1984 Put Sunshine in It Columbia
1986 Da-Da Columbia
1987 Basic Blythe Columbia
1996 Calling Card Enja
1996 Synergy In + Out
1991 Hipmotism Enja
1997 Today's Blues CIMP
1997 Night Song Clarity
2000 Spirits in the Field Savant
2001 Blythe Byte Savant
2002 Focus Savant
2003 Exhale Savant

As co-leader

With Synthesis

  • Six by Six (Chiaroscuro, 1977), with Olu Dara, a.o.
  • Segments (Ra, 1979), with Olu Dara, David Murray, a.o.

With The Leaders

  • Mudfoot (Black Hawk, 1986)
  • Out Here Like This (Black Saint, 1987)
  • Unforeseen Blessings (Black Saint, 1988)
  • Slipping and Sliding (Sound Hills, 1994)
  • Spirits Alike (Double Moon, 2006)

With Chico Freeman

  • Luminous (Jazz House, 1989)

With Roots (Chico Freeman, Nathan Davis, Sam Rivers, a.o.)

  • Salutes the Saxophone - Tributes to John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Lester Young (In & Out, 1992)
  • Stablemates (In & Out, 1993)
  • Say Something (In & Out, 1995)

With Santi Debriano and Billy Hart

  • 3-Ology (Konnex, 1993)

With Jeff Palmer, John Abercrombie, Victor Lewis

  • Ease On (Audio Quest, 1993)

With David Eyges and Bruce Ditmas

  • Synergy (In & Out, 1997)

With John Abercrombie, Terri Lyne Carrington, Anthony Cox, Mark Feldman, Gust Tsilis

  • Echoes (Alessa, 2005)

As sideman

In alphabetical order

With Joey Baron, Ron Carter, Bill Frisell

  • Down Home (Intuition, 1997)
  • We'll Soon Find Out (Intuition, 1999)

With Lester Bowie

  • The 5th Power (Black Saint, 1978)
  • African Children (Horo, 1978)

With Jack DeJohnette

  • Special Edition (ECM, 1979)

With Gil Evans

  • Live at the Royal Festival Hall London 1978 (RCA Victor, 1979)
  • Parabola (Horo, 1980, recorded 1978)
  • Live at the Public Theater, Vol. 1 & 2 (Trio (Japan)/Storyville (Sweden), 1980)
  • Priestess (Antilles, 1983)
  • Sting and Gil Evans Strange Fruit (ITM, 1993), three tracks with Blythe rec. 1976 without Sting

With John Fischer

  • 6 x 1 = 10 Duos for a New Decade (Circle, 1980)
  • as INTERface: Environ Days (Konnex, 1991)

With Chico Hamilton

  • Peregrinations (Blue Note, 1975)
  • Chico Hamilton and the Players (Blue Note, 1976)

With Julius Hemphill

  • Coon Bid'ness (Freedom, 1972)

With Azar Lawrence

  • Bridge into the New Age (Prestige, 1974)

With Woody Shaw

With the Horace Tapscott Quintet

  • The Giant Is Awakened (Flying Dutchman, 1969)

With Gust William Tsilis & Alithea

  • Pale Fire (Enja, 1988)

With McCoy Tyner

  • Quartets 4 X 4 (Milestone, 1980)
  • 44th Street Suite (Red Baron,1991)

With the World Saxophone Quartet

  • Metamorphosis (Elektra Nonesuch, 1990)
  • Breath of Life (Elektra Nonesuch, 1992)


  1. [Arthur Blythe at All Music Guide Allmusic biography]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bob Young and Al Stankus (1992). Jazz Cooks, p. 1415, Stewart Tabori and Chang.
  3. Arthur Blythe Biography

External links

This page was last modified 21.12.2013 03:17:37

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