Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet, sax; b. 1921 - d. 2008)
The Texas born, Jimmy Giuffre is sometimes a mythical figure even amongst jazz fans. He was classically trianed on clarinet--learned and perfected counterpoint (harmonic structure of two different musical lines which function together) which would be make his work standout high and above many of his contemporaries.
With well over 30 albums to his credit, he is widely known for his pianoless/drumless trios from the 50s/60s. These groups were unprecedented and highly inventive (saxophonist Gerry Mulligan also had a pianoless quartet) are recorded a series influential albums over the span of 10 years. The trio feature Jim Hall (guitar) and Ralph Pena (bass) and later a second trio with Hall and Bobby Brookmyer (trombone). The two trios performed some absolutely beautiful folksy and blues influenced jazz sessions during the mid to later 50s.
Giuffre would record and teach throughout the 70s and 80s but made a return to recording during the late 80s and 90s and even recorded two more sessions with Bley and Swallow which saw the three still in top form after a twenty year hiatus. Jimmy Giuffre's lineups may sound complete out of left-field for the uninitiated but when you hear them (jazz fan or not) you will be spellbound at how powerful and creative the groups could be.