Freddie Green Is Dead at 75;
Guitarist in Count Basie Band
By TIM PAGE
Freddie Green, a jazz guitarist who played with the Count Basie Orchestra
for a half century, died yesterday, apparently of a heart attack, in Las
Vegas, Nevada. He was 75 years old and lived in Manhattan.
He was the last surviving member of Basie's "All-American Rhythm
Section" - four musicians (Basie on piano, Mr. Green, Walter Page
on bass and Jo Jones on drums) who worked together with rare synergy.
Although the section was widely imitated by other jazz bands, few, if
any, captured the same sense of unity and rhythmic flow.
Mr. Green, who was born on March 31, 1911, in Charleston, SC, was "discovered"
and introduced to Basie by John Hammond, the record producer, talent scout
and music critic, while the guitarist was playing in a Greenwich Village
He was not Basie's first guitarist - Claude Williams had played a few
dates and recorded one session with the group before Mr. Green joined
- but he played with the group far longer than anybody else. When Basie
died in 1984, the ensemble regrouped and continued to perform, first under
the direction of the trumpet player Thad Jones, and later under Frank
Foster, a tenor saxophonist.
The music critic George. T. Simon once called Mr. Green's playing "wondrously
light yet propulsive." He also recorded with Mildred Bailey, Billie
Holiday, Emmett Berry, Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and
many others. He made several records of his own, for Duke Records in 1945
and for RCA Victor in the late 1950's. He rarely took solos, preferring
to devote his talents to playing in rhythm sections.
He is survived by a son, Alfred.