Frank Griffith Nonet
The Frank Griffith Nonet was originally formed in New York City in 1984. The UK version was created in 1997 for their debut performance at the first annual Kingston Jazz Festival. The group features leading lights of the modern British jazz scene including trumpeters Henry Lowther and Robbie Robson as well as trombonist and composer/arranger Adrian Fry. American saxophonists Frank Griffith and Bob Martin are joined by Mick Foster on baritone sax and the rhythm section includes pianist Tim Lapthorn, Mark Hogdson on bass and various drummers including Matt Home, Paul Clarvis and Rod Youngs. The group also features Australian jazz songstress, Trudy Kerr on selected occasions.
The leader, a distinguished composer/arranger who has written for Lionel Hampton, Jon Hendricks, Norma Winstone and Tony Coe is responsible for much of the band’s repertoire. His adaptations of Gil Evans’ timeless orchestrations for Miles Davis compliment his arrangements of contemporary jazz composer’s Donald Brown and Donald Fagen pieces. The music of Oliver Nelson, Gerry Mulligan and Duke Ellington is also widely featured. Not solely a repertory group, the nonet plays several Griffith compositions borrowing from current musical styles. The group also features a lot of Latin Jazz repertoire in their library including Viva Tirado, Mambo Inn, Una Mas and a popping salsa arrangement of The Simpsons Theme by Adrian Fry.
In October 1999 the nonet performed "Cool Revisited" a tribute to the music associated with Miles Davis. This event featured several Gerry Mulligan pieces from the historic 1948 "Birth Of The Cool" sessions, donated to the Nonet by Franca Mulligan, the legendary jazzman’s widow. The event was sponsored by the Kingston Cultural Services who commissioned a new piece by Griffith (Milesteps) paying tribute to Miles and his music. In August 2002, Frank received a commission from the City of Coventry to compose "The Coventry Suite" which was premiered at the Coventry Jazz Festival that year.
The Nonet has performed throughout the greater London area including the Pinner Parish Church, Lauderdale House, Pizza on the Park and The 100 Club as well as the Royal Festival Hall Foyer and Regents Park Bandshell. The nonet also appears annually at the Ealing Jazz Festival, the first of which resulted in their debut CD "Frank Griffith Nonet ‘Live’ Ealing Jazz Festival 2000"on the HEP label.Their most recent CD "The Coventry Suite" on 33 Records features the title piece as well as Trudy Kerr singing 3 songs, including Bobbie Gentry’s Ode To Billie Joe.
Frank received a nonet commission from the Borough of Ealing in 2006. The piece, entitled Agent W5, is a tribute to the 1960s spy thriller soundtracks associated with Ealing Studios. It was premiered at the Ealing Jazz Festival in July 2006.
With a plethora of 16-piece big bands around, the Nonet front line features 3 brass and 3 saxophones, giving the listener a powerful, full sounding ensemble combined with the intimate, improvised capriciousness of a small group. The Frank Griffith Nonet provides the audience with an exciting show, highlighting the best in jazz, old and new.
For more info, contact Frank Griffith on 01923 450177
59 Hallowell Road, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1DTfrank@fgriffith.freeserve.co.uk www.jazzinlondon.net/JIL/Musicians/Frank_Griffith