Arthur Blythe

Arthur Blythe

Arthur Blythe
Arthur Blythe in 1989 at the North Sea Jazz Festival with The Leaders.
Background information
Born (1940-05-07) May 7, 1940
Origin Los Angeles
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Alto saxophone
Years active 1969–present
Labels Columbia, Enja, Savant Records
Website .comarthurblythe

Arthur Blythe (born July 5, 1940, in Los Angeles)[1] is an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer. His stylistic voice has a distinct vibrato and he plays within the post-bop subgenre of jazz.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • Collaborations 2.2
    • As sideman 2.3
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Blythe lived in San Diego, returning to Los Angeles when he was 19 years old. He took up the alto saxophone at the age of nine, playing R&B until his mid-teens when he discovered jazz.[2] In the mid-1960s he was part of The Underground Musicians and Artists Association (UGMAA), founded by Horace Tapscott, on whose 1969 The Giant Is Awakened Blythe made his recording debut.

After moving to New York in the mid-70s, he worked as a security guard before being offered a place as sideman for Chico Hamilton[2] (75–77). He subsequently played with Gil Evans Orchestra (76–78), Lester Bowie ('78), Jack DeJohnette ('79) and McCoy Tyner ('79).[3] The Arthur Blythe band of 1979 – John Hicks, Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall – played Carnegie Hall and the Village Vanguard.

Blythe started to record as a leader in 1977 for the India Navigation label and then for Columbia records from 1978 to 1987. Albums such as The Grip and Metamorphosis (both on India Navigation) offered capable, highly refined jazz fare with a free angle that made Blythe too "out there" for the general public, but endeared him to the more serious jazz fans. Blythe played on many pivotal albums of the 1980s, among them Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition on ECM. Blythe was a member of the all-star jazz group The Leaders and, after the departure of Julius Hemphill, he joined the World Saxophone Quartet. Beginning in 2000 he made recordings on Savant Records which included Exhale (2003) with John Hicks (piano), Bob Stewart (tuba), and Cecil Brooks III (drums).


As leader

Year Title Label
1977 The Grip India Navigation
1977 Metamorphosis India Navigation
1977 Bush Baby Adelphi
1978 In the Tradition Columbia
1978 Lenox Avenue Breakdown Columbia
1980 Illusions Columbia
1981 Blythe Spirit Columbia
1982 Elaborations Columbia
1983 Light Blue: Arthur Blythe Plays Thelonious Monk Columbia
1984 Put Sunshine in It Columbia
1986 Da-Da Columbia
1987 Basic Blythe Columbia
1996 Calling Card Enja
1996 Synergy In + Out
1991 Hipmotism Enja
1997 Today's Blues CIMP
1997 Night Song Clarity
2000 Spirits in the Field Savant
2001 Blythe Byte Savant
2002 Focus Savant
2003 Exhale Savant


With Synthesis

  • Six by Six (Chiaroscuro, 1977), with Olu Dara, a.o.
  • Segments (Ra, 1979), with Olu Dara, David Murray, a.o.

With The Leaders

With Roots

  • Salutes the Saxophone – Tributes to John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Lester Young (In & Out, 1992)
  • Stablemates (In & Out, 1993)
  • Say Something (In & Out, 1995)

With Santi Debriano and Billy Hart

  • 3-Ology (Konnex, 1993)

With Jeff Palmer, John Abercrombie, Victor Lewis

  • Ease On (Audio Quest, 1993)

With David Eyges and Bruce Ditmas

  • Synergy (In & Out, 1997)

With John Abercrombie, Terri Lyne Carrington, Anthony Cox, Mark Feldman, Gust Tsilis

  • Echoes (Alessa, 2005)

As sideman

With Joey Baron

With Lester Bowie

With Jack DeJohnette

With Gil Evans

  • Gil Evans Live at the Royal Festival Hall London 1978 (RCA, 1979)
  • The Rest of Gil Evans Live at the Royal Festival Hall London 1978 (Mole Jazz, 1981)
  • Parabola (Horo, 1979)
  • Live at the Public Theater, Vol. 1 & 2 (Trio (Japan)/Storyville (Sweden), 1980)
  • Priestess (Antilles, 1983)
  • Sting and Gil Evans – Strange Fruit (ITM, 1993), three tracks with Blythe rec. 1976 without Sting

With John Fischer

  • 6 × 1 = 10 Duos for a New Decade (Circle, 1980)

With Chico Freeman

  • Luminous (Jazz House, 1989)
  • Focus (Contemporary, 1995)

With Chico Hamilton

With Craig Harris

With Julius Hemphill

With Azar Lawrence

With the Music Revelation Ensemble

With Woody Shaw

With Horace Tapscott

With Gust William Tsilis & Alithea

  • Pale Fire (Enja, 1988)

With McCoy Tyner

With the World Saxophone Quartet


  1. ^ a b Allmusic biography
  2. ^ a b Bob Young and Al Stankus (1992). Jazz Cooks. Stewart Tabori and Chang. pp. 14–15.  
  3. ^ Arthur Blythe Biography

External links

  • All About Jazz: A Fireside Chat With Arthur Blythe