Greg Grainger

Location:
Maryland, US
Type:
Artist / Band / Musician
Genre:
Nu-Jazz / R&B / Funk
Site(s):
Label:
GBM Records
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No novice to his instrument and a skilled architect of rhythm, Greg Grainger

is surprisingly fresh in his artistry and musical perspective. Upon hearing

him, it is easy to see why Whitney Houston signed him for her 1988 world tour,

why Britain’s Rhythm Magazine called his work “solid and tasteful” dubbing him a “rhythm master” and why he is the drummer for national smooth jazz artists such as Acoustic Alchemy and Kim Waters; along with being drummer and Musical Director for Maysa (the voice of Incognito’s

Deep Waters and A Shade of Blue).



As a small boy growing up in his hometown of

Baltimore, Maryland, Greg was weaned on the grooves and rhythms of such acts

as Parliament and Weather Report. He began drumming at age seven, jamming with

his musical family and neighborhood buddies. “Even as a kid” he says, “I ate drums, drank drums, and even dreamt about drums. I wanted to be a real pro. I wanted to be better than good”.

His efforts and aspirations received more encouragement when, at the age of

14, he was awarded a scholarship to the highly respected Peabody Conservatory

of Music at Johns Hopkins University.



A self-proclaimed “drum junkie”, Greg is as at home with pop, and rhythm and blues as he is with fusion, swing and hip-hop. His world debut came at the age of 19 as the youngest member of the group Pockets, the protégé band of Earth, Wind and Fire. The group produced three albums with Earth, Wind, & Fires’ Verdine

White. The Pockets experience was followed by a stint with Peaches and Herb

on their Reunited tour. He later became the drummer for jazz pianist Lonnie

Liston Smith.



One of the most difficult temptations confronting any musician is

that of imitating the artists they deeply admire and from whom they learn.

Greg attributes his success to not compromising his desire to create something

that is readily identifiable as “his style” and his alone. That style is born out of Greg’s artistic philosophy. “When you’re working with other artists, it’s all about support” he explains. For me, it’s about being creatively aware and weaving into the musical fabric that’s happening at that moment. When I work with singers, it’s about paying attention to what they’re singing and the way they’re singing it. In a purely instrumental setting, however, the focus is a little different. There you get your feel from playing along with all those instruments and getting the music to happen on its own level”.



In

the early nineties, Greg began to develop a curious love affair with studio

production while doing arrangements and computer programming for Lonnie Liston

Smith. Greg’s earlier work also included various jingle and session dates for PBS, District of Columbia, State of Maryland, CBS Records, Warner Brothers and MCA. His work as a session player on numerous album projects, radio and television kindled a desire in him to produce. “At the time it seemed only natural for me to become a producer. I had worked with a lot of producers and artists and felt that I would like having control over the technical and creative processes involved with music production. I also liked the unlimited creative possibilities that the studio environment offers”.



It

was at that point in his career that Greg decided to follow his instincts. Taking

time off from touring and club dates, he pursued is new interest with relentless

passion. He began his studies in computer programming and audio engineering with

the same fervor that had enabled him to become a master musician.



In 1993, Greg,

his brother Gary and their partner Tony Bulluck, the tour manager for Whitney

Houston, developed a sophisticated mini-recording studio. Through a very effective

use of space and some creative engineering concepts, the trio designed Hillview

Studio to support musicians who want to bridge the two worlds of acoustic and

digital sound. Since then, they have been busy producing a broad range of artists

(including their own funk/jazz group “Grainger”) whose music runs the gamut

from jazz and rap to pop and gospel as well as national and regional commercials

for Umbro Sports, ABC Sports/Nutmeg Mills, Rudo Sports and others. While this

is quite an achievement that requires an abundance of time, he still manages

to maintain a rigorous on the road touring schedule as well.
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