Green was born on June 6, 1931 in St. Louis, Missouri. He first performed in a professional setting at the age of 13. His early influences were Charlie Christian and Charlie Parker; however, he played extensive R & B gigs in his home town and in East Saint Louis, IL while developing his jazz chops. His first recordings in St. Louis were with tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest for the Delmark label. Lou Donaldson discovered green playing in a bar in St. Louis. After touring together with Donaldson, Green arrived in New York around 1959-60. In a Down Beat interview from the early 60's, Green said The first thing I learned to play was boogie-woogie. Then I had to do a lot of rock and roll. It's all blues, anyhow.
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Perhaps the greatest testament to his musical gift was that at
a time when the guitar had fallen out of favor, suddenly, Grant
Green could be heard everywhere, recording with several of
the finest rhythm sections in New York. --Ben Sidran