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Bunky Green

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Bunky Green
Birth nameVernice Green Jr
Born (1935-04-23) April 23, 1935 (age 89)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Instrument(s)Alto saxophone
Years active1940s–1980s
LabelsExodus, Argo, Vanguard, Delos, Pi, Label Bleu

Vernice "Bunky" Green Jr (born April 23, 1935)[1][2] is an American jazz alto saxophonist and educator.


Green was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he played the alto saxophone, mainly at a local club called "The Brass Rail".

Green's first break came when he was hired in New York City by Charles Mingus as a replacement for Jackie McLean in the 1950s. His brief stint with the bass player and composer made a deep impression. Mingus' sparing use of notation and his belief that there was no such thing as a wrong note had a lasting influence on Green's own style.

Green moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he performed with players such as Sonny Stitt, Louie Bellson, Andrew Hill, Yusef Lateef, and Ira Sullivan. Originally strongly influenced by Charlie Parker, Green spent a period reassessing his style and studying, emerging with a highly distinctive sound that has deeply influenced a number of younger saxophonists, including Steve Coleman and Greg Osby.

Green gradually withdrew from the public eye to develop a career as a jazz educator. He taught at Chicago State University from 1972–1989, and in the 1990s took up the directorship of the jazz studies program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, where he taught and acted as chair of Jazz Studies until his retirement in 2011. He has also served a term as the president of the International Association for Jazz Education and been elected to the Jazz Education Hall of Fame.

Green recorded several albums during the 1960s, including Step High (featuring Wynton Kelly and Jimmy Cobb), Playing for Keeps, and Soul in the Night (which paired Green with Sonny Stitt). In addition to a handful of records as a leader on the Vanguard label during the 1970s, he also recorded several albums with Elvin Jones, including Summit Meeting and Time Capsule. His 1989 session on the Delos label, Healing the Pain, commemorates the death of his parents and was awarded the coveted 5-star rating from DownBeat magazine. Green's studio album, Another Place (which features the rhythm section of Jason Moran, Lonnie Plaxico, and Nasheet Waits), also received a 5-star review from Down Beat. In July 2008, his recording The Salzau Quartet Live at Jazz Baltica was released.


As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Fontella Bass

  • "You'll Miss Me (When I'm Gone)" / "Don't Jump" with Bobby McClure (Checker, 1965)
  • "Safe and Sound" (Checker, 1966)
  • "Recovery" / "Leave It in the Hands of Love" (Checker, 1966)
  • "I Can't Rest" / "Surrender" (Checker, 1966)
  • The New Look (Checker, 1966)

With others


  1. ^ Christopher Miller. "VERNICE "BUNKY" GREEN: A CAREER OF HARMONIC EVOLUTION" (Pdf). Docplayer.net. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  2. ^ "Bunky Green Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved April 23, 2024.

External links[edit]