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Frank Griffith

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Born in Eugene, Oregon in 1959, Frank lived in New York City from 1980-1995. While there he worked with Ron Carter, Jon Hendricks and Jack McDuff and played lead alto with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a nationwide tour in 1984. He has also worked with the orchestras of Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Mel Torme. He has recorded with guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli on his CD’s All Of Me and Naturally and produced and arranged for guitarist, Dave Stryker’s Steeplechase CD Nomad.

As a composer/arranger Frank has written for the Ron Carter Nonet, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Jon Hendricks Explosion, the Blue Wisp Big Band and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and clarinettist, Eddie Daniels.

Frank received his Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music, and a BFA from City College of New York, where he also taught from 1985-1995.

Moving to London in 1996, Frank has arranged for Mark Nightingale, Tony Coe, Norma Winstone and Joe Temperley. He is also affiliated with the Pete Cater Big Band, whose CDs, Playing With Fire (1997 Jazzizit) Upswing (2000 Vocalion) and The Right Time (2006 Vocalion) feature many of his compositions and arrangements. His band, The Frank Griffith Nonet performs frequently in the London area including annually at the Ealing Jazz Festival since 2000. Their debut  appearance there resulted in the Frank Griffith Nonet ‘Live’Ealing Jazz Festival 2000 CD on HEPJAZZ. Their CD The Coventry Suite was released in 2004 on 33 Records. The Nonet has also appeared at   London’s fabled jazz club- Pizza Express Dean Street,as well the Stables in Wavendon featuring Sir John Dankworth as a guest artist.Frank was then presented with an award by the Dankworths- A BAJA- British Adoptee Jazz Alumni.

His debut CD, The Suspect, featuring Tom Harrell on HEPJAZZ was released in 1999. His clarinet and string arrangements for baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley were featured on Joe’s 2001 CD Easy To Remember also on HEPJAZZ.  

Frank’s debut big band CD Holland Park Non-Stop was released in 2011 on the HEPJAZZ label and features vocalist Tina May as well as a host of top flight London-based soloists like trumpeters, Steve Fishwick and Freddie Gavita, trombonist, Adrian Fry, saxophonists, Sam Mayne, Matt Wates and Karen Sharp and award winning pianist, John Turville.

Frank has received composition commissions from the Ealing and Coventry JazzFestivals, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Big Band, the Oakham School Big Band, Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and AMIS (The Association for Music in International Schools) for their Honours Jazz Festival.

Currently, Frank is a Music Lecturer and Director of Performance at Brunel University, and taught annually at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops from 1996-2006. He has two compositions published in the Associated Boards Jazz Works ensemble series as well as two pieces for their Jazz Saxophone Syllabus and is also a consultant for the their Jazz Clarinet Syllabus.

As a longstanding member of the International Association of Jazz Educators, Frank served on their Resource Team and is also a charter member of the UK Jazz Services Ltd Education Advisory Panel. Frank is also a regular contributor to www.londonjazz.blogspot.com with reviews and previews of jazz events.

Frank was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Lineup in September 2007 with host Julian Joseph discussing the film music of Sir John Dankworth which was discussed in

his article, Jazz in British New Wave Cinema- an interview with Sir John Dankworth. This was published in the December 2006 issue of The Journal Of British Cinema and Television. Frank also appears on the 2009 John Dankworth Big Band featuring Cleo Laine  CD Jazz Matters on the QNote label.  He has also appeared with John and Cleo and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican and Royal Festival Halls.

Frank has been involved in many London Jazz Festival projects, the first of which in November 2010 featured his Nonet with singers, Alexander Stewart and China Moses in a show entitled Songs of Strayhorn at Queen Elizabeth Hall which he co-curated with pianist/songwriter Alex Webb. He also performed in and contributed several arrangements to  Alex Webb’s November 2012 LJF show, Café Society Swing celebrating the  fabled New York City jazz club. This also featured singers, China Moses and Gwyneth Herbert at the Purcell Room. The show has also played at the Tricycle Theatre and Leicester Square Theatre.

Frank arranged for an all star octet as well as played on Tina May’s 2013 CD Divas on the HEPJAZZ label which received critical accolades from the likes of Dave Gelly, Peter Vacher, Brian Morton  and Les Tomkins.

In 2014, Frank was special guest with the singer Tina May on the Clare Teal Big Band Show on BBC Radio 2.