Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Griffith, Miles (Lloyd)
Griffith, Miles (Lloyd), singer, educator; b. Brooklyn, NY, 13 May 1969. His father Mervyn Griffith Sr. (born c. 1934) is a steel drums player. His mother Christina Griffith (born c. 1930) is a vocalist, mainly a church singer. The two were born in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. His siblings are Angela Bruce (born c. 1950, 53 Trinidad and Tobago W.I.), Josephine Diana Bruce Augustine (born c. 1952, Trinidad and Tobago W.I.), St-Clair Bruce (born c. 1953, Trinidad and Tobago W.I), Ephraim Bruce (born c. 1955, Trinidad and Tobago W.I.), Mervyn E. Griffith, Jr. (born c. 1967, Brooklyn; he's a musician, piano and voice NY) and Michael Griffith (born c. 1972, Brooklyn, NY; he's a singer).
Griffith's education includes The Boys Choir of Harlem (1982-1983,1985), Marion Cowings (1987-1990), Private Jazz Vocal Instruction Pete Yellin (1988-1991), Long Island University Jazz Plus Program, Clyde Criner 1988-1991, Long Island University Jazz Plus Program, Bob Aquino (1988-1991), Long Island University Jazz Plus Program, Rashiim Ausar Sahu (1990-1992), Private Vocal Instruiction, Gloria Cooper (1990-1991), Long Island University Jazz Plus Program, Jackie Paris Summer 1992, Private Vocal Instruction Jimmy Heath Queens College (1993-1995), Sir Roland Hanna (1993-1995), Queens College Dr. Donald Byrd (1993), Queens College Richard Harper (1994), Private Vocal Instruction. In 1987, he graduated from the High School of Music and Performing Arts as a music major. In 1991, he graduated from Long Island University Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance. In 1995, he graduated from Queens College CUNY , Masters of Arts in Music Performance
His musical roots emanate from the Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, A.M.E. and Yoruba ministries. Both of his parents come from musical backgrounds, immigrating from Trinidad, and they have performed in numerous church choirs and steel bands throughout the tri-state area. Griffith's professional performance career began at the age of six. His first major gig was extra work in the film One Trick Pony (1980), with Paul Simon.
At age eleven, he became a member of the Boys Choir of Harlem, with extensive touring and performances. He attended the LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, where his concentration was classical voice. However, during his junior year he fell in love with Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Billie Holiday. Prior to graduating, he gigged around town with fellow schoolmates, Stephen Scott, alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, drummers Gregory Hutchinson, Taru Alexander and others. During this time, his mainstay was the Barry Harris Workshop, where he performed on a weekly basis. He continued his musical education at Long Island University in Brooklyn, where he studied with Jay Clayton and worked with the late Clyde Criner, and then Queens College, where he received his Masters degree in Vocal Performance under the direction of Jimmy Heath and Roland Hanna.
In the late 1990s he was a member of Jon Hendricks' Explosion, James Williams' ICU, Jimmy Heath's Big Band, and Jack Walrath's Master of Suspense, and worked on occasion with the Roy Hargrove Big Band, Bill Saxton Quartet, Carl Allen, Bill Lee, Barry Harris, Bruce Barth, and Pamela Baskin Watson. In 1994, he played the lead role in Wynton Marsalis's Blood on the Fields at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. He appeared on the live radio broadcast that year, on the studio recording in 1995 which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997, and the 1997 world tour. He is also a lyricist. His lyrics are featured on two of Jack Walrath's recordings. He also leads his own collective ensemble, Miles Griffith: Voice, Drums and Dance, a "performance art" group with trombonist Jamal Haynes, percussionists Taru Alexander and David Pleasant, bassists Dwayne Burno and Vattel Cherry and various visual artists. He's traveled, recorded and performed with luminaries like Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Heath, T.S. Monk, The SunRa Archestra, Wilber Morris, Jack Walrath, Carl Allen, Bill Lee, Barry Harris, Bruce Barth, James Williams and Pamela Baskin Watson.
He's been a jazz vocal educator for 12 years, having a Master of Jazz Vocal Performance Degree from Queens College, teaching privately, and at Long Island University, New School Jazz and Contemporary Music and Groningen Conservatore (Groningen, Holland). Since 1994, he's been at the New School Jazz And Contemporary Music. Currently, he's an adjunct Professor at the New School, teaching vocal jazz techniques, theory and improvisation. He teaches a course called, "Contemporary Vocal Master Class." Substitute tenured classes and teach private students at the school. Miles Curriculum Vitae. Since1989, he's been a private instructor. He has almost Thirteen years experience of private vocal instruction. Taught all ages, all styles and all levels. Taught at Lincoln Centers' Meet The Artist Series, One Flight Up and 5 C performance space. He's taught rap and R&B artists like Bilal, Q-tip and Common.Also I've conducted workshops and clinics for many schools around the planet, Japan/Asia, Europe, US and South America. Now, I'm touring Europe from February-August 2003 with Tony Pancella Trio.
Since 1988 he has been co-owner with his brother Mervyn E. Griffith of Griffith Brothers Music Inc. From 1986-92, he performed with Barry Harris's choir in the Tri-State area. From 1992-1994, with Bill Lee, he toured the US with Lee's Mo' Better Blues Quartet and The Family Tree Singers. The two groups dealt with Spirituals and Jazz. Directed the choir for the Family Tree Singers. In 1994, with Bill Saxton, he toured Senegal, Africa. From 1993-1998, he toured the US with Jimmy Heath and his Big Band.
He's performed as a leader and from 1992-2003 with James Williams' Intensive Care Unit, including countless of workshops and clinics. In 2001, he taught at the North Netherlands Conservatoire in Groningen. Since 2000, he's been teaching at the Jazz Mobile. I teach 30-40 beginner-intermediate level vocal jazz students on Saturday mornings theory, choir skills, jazz standards, vocal production and ear training.
Spiritual Freedom (1999) Love Theme live at Caviarteria (2000); Miles Griffith/Tony Pancella: I Found You (2001)
Hayes Greenfield: Jazz-A-Ma-Tazz (1996-99); Wynton Marsalis: Blood On The Fields (1997); James Williams: Truth Justice & The Blues (1996), We've Got What You Need (1998); Mark Elf: Trickinometry (1998); Jamaaladeen Tacuma: Funk Jam (1999); Jack Walrath: The Spirit of Charles Mingus (2000), Invasion of The Booty Shakers; T.S. Monk: Higher Ground (2001)