When Gary Grainger speaks, its usually in clean bass tones articulated in musical dialects ranging from fusion to pure jazz. Music aficionados everywhere have heard a lot of what Gary has to say. From his early days with soul singer Luther Ingram to his years as a member of Earth, Wind and Fire's protege band " Pockets" to his contribution to John Scofield's celebrated quartet, Gary Grainger is talking bass, bass, and more bass.
A self-taught player, Gary learned the bass as a teenager. He gave up his interest in drums when his father brought home an old electric bass given to him by a co-worker. Gary also toyed with the tuba and sousaphone in high school. Though surrounded by musical influences for most of his early life, at 18, Gary enrolled as an art major at Morgan State University in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. He kept his interest in the bass alive by playing in local bands on weekends when his studies permitted. While at Morgan, Gary became involved with both the marching and stage bands. His local, after hours playing began to expand outside of Baltimore into the clubs up and down the Washington/Baltimore Corridor.
In 1974, Gary joined soul singer Luther Ingram on a four month gig in Florida. After Ingram, Gary returned home and joined a fusion band called Inner Visions which was later transformed into the Columbia label recording group Pockets. Between 1978 and 1981, Pockets recorded three albums and toured as EWF"s opening act.
Subsequent to Pockets, Gary began to freelance doing studio sessions, Between Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York. During this point of his career, he met Eumir Deodato, and recorded two albums with him: Night Cruise and Happy Hour. Fortunately, 1986 was not to be the year of exception. Upon hearing one of Gary's live performances on tape, guitarist John Scofield inducted him into his quartet to create the bass platforms that would support Scofield's own style and musical
In 1993, Gary, his Brother Greg 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 Studios 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 whose music runs the gamut from jazz and rap to pop and gospel, as well as creating original jingles and music scores for Umbro Sports, ABC Sports/Nutmeg Mills, Rudo Sports and others.
Gary's other recent endeavors include, both performing and studio work with Maysa, Lonnie L Smith, Pure Soul, Nancy Wilson, Dennis Chambers and George Duke in the Walt Disney's Clinton Inauguration Special "Celebrations for Youth", also Eric Marienthal, Slim Man, Nelson Rangel, The
WPG' Trio, Less Traveled and Ken Navarro to name a few.
These days you're most apt to find Gary working on his soon to be released second album "Grainger Phase
II" with his brother Greg. "Grainger Phase I" was release in 1997 and was very well received by the public winning 3 Wamma awards, 1997,1998 and 2000. Gary's excitement about the collaboration with Greg is contagious as he explains; "these projects are a serious effort for me. Whenever Greg and I join forces we create a very dynamic chemistry. That's what we're going to get on tape-that special magic that happens between us when we play together. It's a
family thing I guess."