Rayford Griffin, Drums
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During his one year as a music major
at Indiana State Rayford studied music theory and nabbed
Best Drummer honors at three competitions, including the
Elmhurst Jazz Festival. This led to him joining local
fusion monsters, Merging Traffic, in 1977. One of their
first gigs was opening for violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. In
an interview for Modern Drummer magazine, Ponty recalled.
"As we were coming into the hall, (Merging Traffic)
was playing. In fact, it was during Rayford's drum solo.
Usually everybody just goes back to the dressing room
while there's an opening band on. But this time, everyone
stayed to watch the drum solo. Rayford had the crowd in
his hand." A few years later, Rayford's mother and
older brother, Thomas, scraped together the money to send
him to Los Angeles for an audition (which he nailed),
upon which time he embarked on the most high profile gig
of his career playing with Ponty for six years and five
Subsequent gigs included accompanying
Anita Baker, Cameo, George Howard, Dave Koz, Jeff Lorber,
Boyz II Men and Anastasia and being a member of the Stanley
Clarke Band, to name just a few.