Jimmy Forrest


Sit Down And Relax With Jimmy Forrest

  • Release Date: 20 May 1996
  • OJCCD-895-2

Jimmy Forrest used his huge tone to perfection on this September 61 sesion with Calvin Newborn/g (brother of Phineas), Hughe Lawson/p, Tommy Potter/b and Clarence Johnston/dr. Newborn does some nice work on his rare recorded outing, but it’s Forrest’s show, and he fills the room with his dangling the slipper on the toes reading of “Rocks In My Bed” and “The Moon Was Yellow.” This is like getting the seat next to the grill at the local … MORE


Jimmy Forrest is truly a forgotten tenor master. He was with Count Basie as well, but his town had that big smoky… More

Forrest’s session from just a month later has him with almostthe same group, but with Ray Barretto on… More

There was a good deal more to Jimmy Forrest than "Night Train," his rhythm and blues hit of the early 1950s. Forrest was a full-service… More

From the time Coleman Hawkins firmly established the tenor saxophone on the jazz map, it has been one of the most potent forces in the music, its… More



Jimmy Forrest (1920-1980) was a large-toned tenor saxophonist who had a major hit with “Night Train” (which was based on Duke Ellington’s “Happy Go Lucky Local”) and a major career in the years that followed.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Forrest worked in the Midwest with pianist Eddie Johnson, Fate Marable, the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra, and Don Albert. Respected for his tone and his swinging style, Forrest worked with the Jay McShann Orchestra and the Andy Kirk big band (1942-1948). He had a stint with Duke Ellington in 1949 and two years later recorded “Night Train.” The success of that hit allowed Forrest to lead his own band for several years, recording other similar r&b-oriented material.

Forrest’s heart was always in swinging jazz and he enjoyed his association with trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison during 1958-1963. During that period, Forrest recorded five albums for Prestige and New Jazz, showing that he could play hard bop and soul-jazz in addition to swing and 1950s r&b. Forrest Fire, Out of the Forrest, Sit Down and Relax, Most Much!, and Soul Street feature the saxophonist in a quartet with organist Larry Young, groups with either Joe Zawinul or Hugh Lawson on piano, a Latin-flavored date with Ray Barretto, and with the Oliver Nelson Orchestra.

After a period of freelancing, Jimmy Forrest was a major soloist with Count Basie’s orchestra during 1972-1977, spending the years before his death co-leading a group with trombonist Al Grey. His brand of stomping and soulful jazz has never gone out of style.