«Music is holistic. It has the power to move people on a multitude of levels. Through my voice I want to be able to probe people to think and expand their preconceived conceptions about the voice. The voice is the one instrument which can communicate to all, crossing any existing barriers; language, sex, age, class or race."
In just a few short years, Miles Griffith’s fearless approach to music has helped him to emerge as a serious contender on the modern jazz scene. Adept in any context, his organic style is adventurous, whimsical, fiery,
His impressive resume also includes stints with Max Roach, Reggie Workman, Carl Allen, Bill Lee,
In 1994, he played the lead role of «Jesse» in Wynton Marsalis', celebrated Blood On The Fields, the specially commissioned jazz oratorio, which premiered at Lincoln Centers' Alice Tully Hall. Griffith also participated on the recording, which was released on Sony Music in mid 1997 to end Marsalis' Pulitzer Award and Grammy winning world tour. Will Friedwald states, «Miles Griffith shows off the scat technique that made him Wynton Marsalis' choice for the leading role in Blood On The Fields."
Griffith is not only a stellar performer he is also a band leader and record producer. Having four CD’s under his belt and his most recent work, Smile Againon Griffith Records, a record label Griffith created. Author, historian and jazz critic Ira Gitler states about Smile Again, «Miles Griffith is a very talented,
In addition to extensive work as a sideman, Griffith is gaining a reputation as a fine composer and lyricist. His lyrics have been featured on two of Jack Walrath’s recordings, Nick Russo new CD, RO due out in June 2006, and trumpeter Fabio Morgera’s music. His compositions and lyrics are also featured on his 4 CD’s as a leader. Village Voice critic writer Jim Macnie states, «The vocalist has a wail that’s able to shake a room, a visceral blues sensibility, and gregarious sense of humor." December of 1999, Griffith released his first CD as a leader called Spiritual Freedom on Griffith Records. Critic Steven A. Loewy’s CD review states, «What Griffith does do well is to take hold of a tune and squeeze it into his concept."
Griffith has been a jazz vocal educator for 18 years, having a Masters of Jazz Vocal Performance Degree from Queens College, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Long Island University and a private instructor. In 2005, Griffith received the new Vocal Jazz Instructor position at Columbia University Jazz Department in New York City. Griffith taught twelve years at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music, four years at Jazzinty in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, one year in Izola, Slovenia with the Plesni Dance School and one year at the Groningen Conservatore in the Netherlands. He brings his performance energy to the education realm to excite, encourage and empower his students.
Griffith split his collective ensemble, Miles Griffith: Voice, Drums and Dance and created two groups, The Miles Griffith & Trio and The New Ting. Both groups still have the unique «performance art» flavor of Voice, Drums and Dance but take the music into two directions: The contemporary jazz and
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Miles Griffith’s musical roots emanate from the Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, A.M.E. and Yoruba ministries. However, he attributes his percussive vocal style to his Trinidadian roots. Both of his parents come from musical backgrounds, emigrating from Trinidad, and they have performed in numerous church choirs and steel bands throughout the
However, it was in his junior year that he fell with Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Billie Holiday. Prior to graduating, Griffith gigged around town with fellow schoolmates, pianist Stephen Scott, alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, drummers Gregory Hutchinson, Taru Alexander and others. During this time, his mainstay was the renowned Barry Harris Workshop where he performed on a weekly basis.
Griffith continued his musical education at Long Island University and onto Queens College where he received his Masters degree in Vocal Performance under the direction of Jimmy Heath and Sir Roland Hanna. As for Miles Griffith’s future plans, he states, «I plan to put the voice back on the scene as the ultimate first instrument.»