Drummer Andrew Griffith
Born in Dallas, TX, Andrew Griffith developed an early interest in music and listened to jazz, classical, and other records from his parents’ collection. Especially drawn to the drums, he joined his sixth grade school band and started learning the basics of percussion, with an emphasis on Timpani. This led to Andrew going to the Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, where he started playing the drum set and eventually joined the top Jazz Combo under director, Bart Marantz. After graduation, Andrew auditioned and enrolled at the University of North Texas in Denton. Here, he studied with the great teacher Ed Soph, and played with many groups including the UNT Jazz Repertory Ensemble and the 3 ‘O Clock Lab Band. Andrew was blessed with the good fortune to be chosen to play with visiting artists/ clinicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Red Rodney, Doc Cheatham, Houston Person, Bucky Pizzarelli, and numerous others. He graduated from UNT in 1996.
Andrew became a professional gigging musician immediately after high school when he began playing that summer with recent Booker T. Graduates such as trumpeter Whitney Russell, saxophonist Keith Loftis, and pianist Fred Sanders. Becoming ensconsed in the DFW jazz scene, Andrew went on to play and learn from many great local musicians such as pianists Claude Johnson, Thomas Reese, and Roger Boykin; bassists Charles Scott and James Gilyard; and vocalists Sandra Kaye and Simone Jackson-Rodgers. Andrew started playing with the great saxophonist Marchel Ivery around 1993-1994 and played with him regularly until his untimely passing in October of 2007. Mr. Ivery’s mentorship and friendship contributed hugely to Andrew’s growth as a musician and person.
Visiting national artists that Andrew has played with from time to time include pianists Cedar Walton, Monty Alexander, and Cyrus Chestnut; saxophonists David “Fathead” Newman, Red Holloway, Houston Person and Javon Jackson, trumpeters Dwayne Clemons, Tex Allen, and Mike Vax, trombonists Wycliffe Gordon and Frank Lacy, flutist Holly Hofmann, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, organists Joey DeFrancesco and Jack McDuff, vocalists Melba Joyce, Jazzmeia Horn, Rosanna Vitro, Kimberly Gordon and Cheryl Bentyne, composer/arranger Johnny Pate, and The Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Barrie Lee Hall.
Andrew has recorded with Marchel Ivery, Joey DeFrancesco, James Gilyard, Sandra Kaye, Simone Jackson-Rodgers, Roger Boykin, Curt Bradshaw, Gregory Slavin, Jim Shannon, The Texas Gypsies, and many others. He currently stays busy playing on the local DFW music scene with such artists as Shelley Carrol, Brad Leali, James Gilyard, Roger Boykin, TRIO SOUTH (which includes pianist Alan Jay Palmer and bassist Buddy Mohmed), the Mark Goodwin Trio, and many others.
Andrew also currently teaches several drum set students at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. In March of 2011, Andrew conducted a jazz drum clinic/workshop at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Tx. In June of 2011, Andrew was chosen to be the house drummer for the UNT Jazz Bass Camp under the direction of Lynn Seaton. In 2016, he was chosen to be the house drummer for the jazz portion of the North American Saxophone Alliance conference/competition. He has also participated in numerous other educational jazz rhythm section workshops and master classes at various local/state high schools and colleges.
In 2004, Andrew was honored to be a Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year award recipient.