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Graham Dent

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Biography of Graham Dent

Grateful Hands brings together the considerable talents of pianist Graham Dent and guitarist David Williams, both active on the Midlands jazz scene. David is a young musician fresh out of university but with a warm mature approach that one might associate with a more experienced player. The styles of the two musicians blend perfectly in this creative collaboration. There is sensitivity, and a certain elegance in their intertwining lines and enough space to allow the music to breathe naturally. Most tracks are standards, but also included are three of Graham's originals from the repertoire of his contemporary jazz quintet Jucamaya.

Personal Freeway is Graham's first solo album, featuring his talents on keyboard but also on guitar. It presents a relaxed mood but with the focus clearly on creative exploration, and a purposeful intent to find increased freedom in improvisation, whilst still maintaining contact with the jazz tradition. All but one of the tracks are original, reflecting a broad range of styles. Several of the compositions have been subsequently arranged for the contemporary jazz quintet, Jucamaya, in which Graham is a leading player.

Graham composes and arranges most of the repertoire of jazz quintet, Jucamaya, the rest being some carefully chosen standards. There is a distinctive rhythmic edge to much of the band’s music, but Jucamaya can swing as well as any other band. In early 2008, Jucamaya released their first album, Thinking of Joe, the band’s way of remembering Joe Zawinul. Their second album, Curious Terrain, was released in Sept 2009 and features more compositions by Graham, ranging from the energetic to the introspective.

Graham also works regularly with vocalists Roy Forbes and Sue Kibbey, and has accompanied them both on CD albums. More information on these and all other albums featuring Graham can be found on www.grahamdent.com.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s Graham was a member of the jazz quintet, Footprints, again writing a significant proportion of the band’s repertoire. The band recorded an album, No Hurries, which was produced by saxophonist Tim Whitehead.

Over the years Graham has accompanied many well known jazz soloists on gigs in the midlands, namely Jim Mullen, Alan Barnes, Dave O’Higgins and Barbara Thompson.

Although he concentrates mainly on playing piano and keyboard, Graham also plays jazz guitar and he is currently learning the sitar. Perhaps surprisingly he played rock guitar in a production of The Who’s Tommy at the Rugby Theatre in 2006. The previous year it was Jesus Christ Superstar at the same theatre.

His favourite pianists are Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, though he listens to and is influenced by the broadest range of music. His adaptive, rhythmic piano style means he is at home in a variety of musical settings ranging from jazz standards, blues, through to contemporary jazz. Whichever the musical environment, Graham’s sincerity and enthusiasm for his music are always apparent.

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