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Gene Ammons

Biography

Chicago-born Gene Ammons began as a sax player in the late ’40s in vocalist Billy Eckstine’s big band. Blessed with a hugely expressive tenor sound, he later began recording tenor duels with both Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt. His sprawling sound was used to maximum effect on the soulful jazz combos he played with throughout the '50s, and his aggressively bluesy wails seemed to echo the turmoil caused by his narcotics addiction, which often landed him in prison. Nonetheless, Ammons’ Hammond-soaked jam sessions always resonated with a passion for both Bebop and R&B.

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