Chris Graham

“As he develops his personal approach as a player, and hopefully as a composer as well, I think the world will notice Chris Graham. He is a gifted young man.”
-John Grimshaw

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january, 2021

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Chicago, IL

Chris Graham,

and often others.


John Christopher “Chris” Graham was born in 1982, a year remembered for the releases of such great jazz albums as:David Murray’s Murray’s StepsSteve Lacy’s The Flame andRonald Shannon Jackson’s Mandance.

Chris was born with music in his soul singing his first words at eight months: “I love you” from Annie, the musical. As a young boy, Chris would sit at the piano for hours improvising concertos, some becoming memorized to play for guests and school events. He and fellow junior high friends patched together an a capella group and would sing whenever and wherever asked. He started a rock band in junior high as guitarist and lead vocalist. During high school, Chris branched out learning to dance as a member of Show Choir, and formed an all male singing group called The Green Machine. When the Machine performed “Men in Tights”, they never failed to bring the house down.

Up to his junior year, Chris only read music minimally until a music theory class opened up his world like the parting of the Red Sea. All of a sudden, Chris’ musical soul met his musical intellect, and the combination was explosive. When his music theory teacher, Rich Hadfield, played Gary Burton’s “Crystal Silence”, Chris’ path was set. His teacher arranged for him to take lessons from the Director of Percussion at the University of Missouri. Within six months of meeting the vibraphone, Chris took first at the state music competition playing a four mallet marimba solo he composed. Before graduating in 2001, Chris composed the complete score of a jazz concerto and conducted the jazz band during its premier performance. Chris planned to attend college but changed his mind after graduating high school. He wanted to follow his new dream of becoming a professional vibraphonist. In 2001, he put together the jazz band Incumbens III, which toured nationally from 2001-2004.

After Incumbens III disbanded, Chris began working with Sony recording artist Kevin Hennessy and traveled to San Diego to record at Signature Sounds. While in San Diego, Chris performed at one of San Diego’s premier jazz clubs, Dizzy’s, and the San Diego Zoo. This experience helped him understand what the life of a professional recording artist is like, and he’s been fervently working to realize his dream ever since. Chris has worked as a sideman with recording artists such as: Keri Johnsrud on her 2009 album All Blue, with Jonathon Bass Quintet in 2008 on Shapes and Colors, with Section Four in 2007 on a self-titled album called Section Four and with Allen Beeson on First Time Out in 2005. Chris’s own album, After-Birth of Cool, with Chris Graham Trio was released in the summer of 2010. Four After-Birth of Coolmusic videos were released during the summer of 2011.

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