Along with Julius Watkins, John Graas was one of the first jazz French horn soloists. After playing some classical music, in 1942 he became a member of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra. A period in the Army (1942-1945) and stints with the Cleveland Orchestra and Tex Beneke's big band preceded Graas' first high-profile gig, playing with Stan Kenton's Innovations Orchestra (1950-1951). After leaving Kenton, he settled in Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician in addition to being used on West Coast jazz dates by Shorty Rogers and others.
Graas, an excellent composer who sought to combine together jazz and classical music (predating the third stream movement), recorded fairly regularly as a leader during 1953-1958, sessions that (with the exception of one V.S.O.P. release) have not been reissued. He died of a heart attack at the age of 45.
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide