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Gary Gray
Nu-Jazz / Blues / Funk
RALEIGH, North Carolina

As a teenager Gary started taking guitar lessons. He began to read music and understand music theory. Gary's music education has never stopped. While earning a masters degree in computer science, Gary played guitar in his college jazz bands.

In college Gary furthered his music education with taking classes in music theory and improvisation. He took guitar lessons from jazz guitar master Jack Austin from North Texas State University and Tommy Yodder a graduate from Guitar Institute of Technology.

In 1997, Gary attended to the National Guitar Workshop in Milford, Connecticut. There he got meet, learn, and play with some of his real life heroes: Mike Stern, John Scofield, John Abercombie, Peter Leitch, Dave Stryker, Rodney Jones, Adam Rafferty, Sheryl Bailey, Jack Grassel.

After graduating with from University South Carolina with a Master of Science in Computer Science Gary moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. There he worked as a member of the scientific staff at software firm in Research Triangle Park. While living in Raleigh Gary began exploring new musical relationships and collaborations. He formed a jazz ensemble from colleagues at work called the Blues Patrol. They eventually played parties and local venues.

In 2000, Gary began getting his thoughts and ideas together for producing his first release. I had a loose struture of the material and songs that I wanted to perform on the 1st release. Next giant step was to find the local players that had the touch. First a killer rhythm section.

Bobby Patterson is a renowned bassist and producer in the area. When first getting to know Bobby, he was lead singer and bassist for funk pop band Dag playing original music. They were signed to Columbia records. Their live performance was one of the most dynamic Gary had never seen. Bobby later performed in a groove fusion jam trio named Go There. Bobby has a fanastic groove.

Next was Andy Trexler I sought out. Andy graduated some Precussion Institute of Technology many years ago. He is known for having an Elvin Jones feel. I love his playing. It is so musical. His dynamics are incredible. His feel is old school.

We are very fortunate to have Grant Osborne joins us on keyboards. Grant's playing in awesome. He also comes from the old school. I hear a lot of Bill Evans in his playing. He knows how to get funky as well. Listen to his B3 playing. Grant is a superstar.

On horns we got first call player Mahon Hoard on saxophone and Mitch Butler on trombone. Both are legendary players around the area. Mahlon studied jazz at the University of North Texas. He cut his teeth on the New York City jazz scene. He played with many influential musicians including James Genus, Zach Danzinger, Rodney Holmes, Tim LeFevbre, and Adam Holzman, Miles Davis' sideman. He moved to North Carolina to live a more tranquil existence. Wayne Shorter was a big influence on Mahlon.

Mitch is known throughout the state of North Carolina as a trombonist, composer, arranger, and music educator. He has been performing on a steady basis in the fields of jazz and classical music. Mitch has a wide range of experiences including performances with personalities Billy Armstrong, Cecil Bridgewater, Eve Cornelius, Chip Crawford, Carroll Dashiell, Tom Harrell, Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Bob Mintzer, Melton Mustafa, Grady Tate, Steve Turre, and Jiggs Wigham. Mitch is trombonist with the North Carolina Jazz Repertoire Orchestra since April of 1999. He knows how to sound very street, down and dirty.

Filling out the Funky Blues members are the vocals of Eli Warren and Sandi Sullivan. Eli and Sandi have been singing together for many years. Eli is a true seasoned jazz musician. Her heart lies in the jazz tradition. Eli has spent considerable time training under a grammy-nominated vocal coach. Her music is highly inspired by the early works of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Billie Holiday. Sandi has several years of vocal training under her belt. She is a featured piano bar songstress and has performed in the theatre for most of her life.


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