Born in Eugene, Oregon in 1959, Frank lived in New York
City from 1980-1995. While there he worked with Ron Carter, Jon
Hendricks and Jack McDuff and played lead alto with the Glenn Miller
Orchestra for a nationwide tour in 1984. He has also worked with the
orchestras of Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich and Mel Torme.
He has recorded with guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli on his CD’s All Of
Me and Naturally and produced and arranged for guitarist, Dave
Stryker’s Steeplechase CD Nomad.
As a composer/arranger Frank has written for the Ron
Carter Nonet, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Jon Hendricks Explosion,
the Blue Wisp Big Band and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and
clarinetist, Eddie Daniels. Frank received his Masters Degree from
Manhattan School of Music, and a BFA from City College of New York,
where he also taught from 1985-1995.
Moving to London in 1996, Frank has arranged
for Mark Nightingale, Tony Coe, Norma Winstone and Joe Temperley.
He is also affiliated with the Pete Cater Big Band, whose CDs,
Playing With Fire (1997 Jazzizit), Upswing
(2000 Vocalion) and The Right Time (2006 Vocalion)
feature many of his compositions and arrangements. His
band, The Frank Griffith Nonet performs frequently in the London
area including annually at the Ealing Jazz Festival since 2000.
That appearance there resulted in the Frank Griffith Nonet ‘Live’Ealing
Jazz Festival 2000' CD on HEPJAZZ. Their CD, The
Coventry Suite was released in 2004 on 33 Records.
Their debut at London’s fabled jazz club - Pizza Express Dean
Street - took place in May 2009 with vocalist, Georgia Mancio.
They also appeared at the Stables in Wavendon in July of the
same year and featured Sir John Dankworth as a guest artist.
At the end of the gig Frank was presented with an award by the
Dankworths - A BAJA- British Adoptee Jazz Alumni.
His debut CD, The Suspect, featuring Tom
Harrell on HEPJAZZ was released in 1999. His clarinet and string
arrangements for baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley were featured on
Joe's 2001 CD, Easy To Remember, also on HEPJAZZ. Frank
released with his big band CD in 2011 entitled Holland Park Non-Stop
on the HEPJAZZ label. It features vocalist Tina May.
Frank has received composition commissions from the
Ealing and Coventry Jazz Festivals, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
Big Band, the Oakham School Big Band, Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and
AMIS (The Association for Music in International Schools) for their
Honours Jazz Festival.
Currently, Frank is a Music Lecturer and Director of
Performance at Brunel University, and taught annually at the Jamey
Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops from 1996-2006. He has two
compositions published in the Associated Boards Jazz Works ensemble
series as well as two pieces for their Jazz Saxophone Syllabus and is
also a consultant for the their Jazz Clarinet Syllabus. His
clarinet and strings quintet piece Round About is published by
Really Good Music and he has 2 big band pieces published by the
University of Northern Colorado Press.
As a longstanding member of the International
Association of Jazz Educators, Frank served on their Resource Team and
is also a charter member of the UK Jazz Services Ltd Education Advisory
Panel. Frank is also a regular contributor to
www.londonjazz.blogspot.com with reviews and previews of jazz events.
Frank was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Lineup in
September 2007 with host Julian Joseph discussing the film music of Sir
John Dankworth which was discussed in his article, Jazz in British New
Wave Cinema - an interview with Sir John Dankworth. This was
published in the December 2006 issue of The Journal Of British Cinema
and Television. Frank also appears on the 2009 John Dankworth Big
Band featuring Cleo Laine CD Jazz Matters on the QNote label.
He has also appeared with John and Cleo and the London Symphony
Orchestra at the Barbican and Royal Festival Halls.
Griffith has been involved in two London Jazz Festival
projects, the first of which in November 2010 featured his Nonet with
singers Alexander Stewart and China Moses in a show entitled Songs
of Strayhorn at Queen Elizabeth Hall which he co-curated with
pianist/songwriter Alex Webb. He also performed in and contributed
several arrangements to a November 2012 LJF show called Café Society
celebrating a historic NYC jazz club featuring singers China Moses and
Gwyneth Herbert at the Purcell Room.
Frank’s debut big band CD Holland Park Non-Stop
was released in 2011 on the Hepjazz label and features vocalist Tina May
as well as a host of top flight London-based soloists like trumpeters,
Steve Fishwick and Freddie Gavita, trombonist, Adrian Fry, saxophonists,
Sam Mayne, Matt Wates and Karen Sharp and award winning pianist, John