John Graas Photo

John Graas

Born: Mar 14, 1917

Death: Apr 13, 1962

Birthplace: Dubuque

Nationality: United States

John Graas

Date of Birth : Mar 14, 1917
Date of Death : Apr 13, 1962
Birth Place : Dubuque

John Graas was an American jazz French horn player, composer, and arranger. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Graas had a short but busy career on the West Coast, known primarily as one of the first and best French horn players in jazz. Graas had classical training, including attendance at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he performed under the tutelage of Serge Koussevitsky. He soon became interested in jazz and studied ways to bring jazz and classical music together, an early effort at what would later be called Third Stream music. Following the path of his dual interests, he was a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, the Army Air Corps band during World War II, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Tex Beneke Orchestra, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra. After this, Graas settled in Los Angeles, finding work as a studio musician but also now able to work with kindred spirits on the innovative side of West Coast jazz, including Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Buddy Collette, and Shelly Manne, all of whom were involved in efforts to blend jazz with elements of classical music.

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