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Rayford Griffin, Drums

Performed or Recorded With:


Michael Jackson
Babyface
Jeff Lorber
George Howard
Manhattan Transfer
Kenny G
Rick Braun
Angela Winbush
Cameo
Baron Browne
Debarge
Stanley Clarke
Bette Midler
George Duke
Anita Baker
Isley Brothers
Michael Bolton
Jean-Luc Ponty
Scott Henderson

 

Featured Artist:

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 albums (1981-1987).

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.

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