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Artist Profiles

Eric Kamau Grávátt

By Published: September 15, 2006
Shortly thereafter Grávátt moved to San Francisco to play with the pianist Bayete, but that fizzled out and after playing a gig in Minneapolis with Bobby Lyle the saxophonist in the band, Bob Rockwell, invited him to move there and join the cooperative group Natural Life. When that group disbanded he decided that he had had enough of the indignities of the music business and took a job with the state as a corrections officer "teaching convicted felons how to productively structure their time. For the next twenty-one years he played only sporadically, raising a family, staying on the job and earning a pension.

Ironically, shortly after retiring, while sitting at home and pondering his next move, the phone rang. It was McCoy Tyner, inviting him to rejoin his trio. His timing could not have been more perfect. Since returning to McCoy's band Grávátt has kept a busy schedule of playing with the trio, often with special guests such as Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Gary Bartz and Savion Glover. This summer he's been on the road touring with Tyner and his all-star "Impulse Story septet with the likes of Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, Dave Liebman, Eric Alexander, Steve Turre and Charnett. While Grávátt's incendiary drumming has yet to cause his kit to catch fire, it seems that he is indeed well on his way to going out in a blaze of glory.

Recommended Listening:

· Byard Lancaster - It's Not Up To Us (Vortex-Water Music, 1966)

· Lloyd McNeil - Asha (Asha, 1969)

· Weather Report - I Sing the Body Electric (Columbia, 1971)

· Weather Report - Live in Tokyo (Columbia, 1972)

· Weather Report - Sweetnighter (Columbia, 1973)

· Julian Priester - Love, Love (ECM, 1973)

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