Born: June 13, 1937 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Frank Strozier (born June 13, 1937) is an alto saxophonist renowned for his playing in the hard bop idiom.
Frank Strozier has long been a top-notch hard bop stylist whose intense sound recalls (but is not derivative of) Jackie McLean. One of many excellent jazzmen who grew up in Memphis, Strozier played with other Memphis musicians even after he moved to Chicago in 1954 (including Harold Mabern, Booker Little, and George Coleman). He recorded with the MJT + 3 from 1959-1960, and led sessions for Vee Jay during the same period. After moving to New York, Strozier was briefly with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1963 (between Hank Mobley and George Coleman), gigged with Roy Haynes, and then relocated to Los Angeles. During his L.A. years, he worked with Chet Baker, Shelly Manne, and most notably the Don Ellis big band (with whom he took a memorable solo on K.C. Blues from Ellis' Autumn album). He returned to New York in 1971, working with the Jazz Contemporaries, the New York Jazz Repertory Company, and Horace Parlan, among others, but not gaining the recognition he deserved. Frustrated with his lack of work, Strozier for a time reappeared as a pianist, but little resulted from that. Possibly his best work during that period is with trumpeter Woody Shaw. As a leader, Frank Strozier's Vee Jay recordings (with a great deal of added material) have been reissued on CD; his Jazzland dates from 1961-1962 remain out of print, and he also led sessions for Trident (1972) and SteepleChase (1976-1977).