Freddie Green was born Frederick William Green on March 31, 1911 in Charleston, South Carolina. Exposed to music early he learned to play banjo before taking up the guitar and learning to read music. He got his first gig playing with a local group alongside trumpeter William “Cat Anderson who would end up in Ellington’s band.
Following his parent’s death while in his teens, Freddie moved to New York to live with his aunt and finish school. He began playing the club circuit, earning both money and a reputation. Noticed by the legendary talent scout John H. Hammond, Green was introduced to Count Basie and in 1937 became part of the outfit. He would remain a pivotal fixture of the Count Basie Band for the next fifty years.
Freddie recorded extensively with Count Basie but also produced several albums as a leader and in addition as a sideman working with such artists as Joe Newman, Al Grey, Zoot Sims, Herb Ellis, Paul Quinichette and Al Cohn to name a few to his credit.
Guitarist Freddie Green, who made a name for himself during the Swing era, who was part of the All-American Rhythm Section alongside pianist Count Basie, drummer Jo Jones and bassist Walter Page and whose technique was to play only certain important notes of each chord limiting unnecessary harmonic presence, passed away at age 75 on March 1, 1987.
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