Dallas native Andrew Griffith is a product of the prestigious music program at the University of North Texas. His professional gigs, however, started much earlier — in fact, right after graduating from Dallas’ famed Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. Mr. Griffith has performed with many great local and internationally-known musicians, including Joey DeFrancesco, James Gilyard, Roy Hargrove, David “Fathead” Newman, Sandra Kaye, and Roseanne Vitro. He credits his friend and mentor, the late great saxophonist Marchel Ivery, with helping him develop as a musician and person. Named the Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year in 2004, Mr. Griffith is a “go-to” drummer who balances a busy schedule of performing and teaching.
Joey Carter is active as a jazz vibraphonist, drum set artist, percussionist, jazz pianist, organist, and arranger. He performs regularly as a piano soloist, with his own trio or quintet, Johnny Reno and the Bitchin’ Camaros, The Arts on 5th Avenue Jazz Collective, the Fort Worth Symphony Big Band, and as a recording session musician. Joey Carter teaches music theory, ear training, jazz history, jazz ensemble, jazz improvisation, and private lessons in percussion and jazz piano at Texas Christian University. Mr. Carter received his Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance at Texas Christian University in May of 2000 and a B.M.E. from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1991.
Len Barnett, founder of Percussion Things, is a world beat percussionist with extensive experience performing traditional rhythms and instruments from West Africa. He has performed with such nationally acclaimed musicians as Kirk Franklin, Kirk Whalum, Philip Bailey, Cab Calloway and noted local jazz artists Joe McBride, Tom Braxton and Joseph Vincelli. He is the staff percussionist for Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Brookhaven Community College. Performances include Imagination Celebration, TITAS, African American Museum, KidsArts, Dallas Parks and Recreation After School Programs, Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico and most recently, for Dallas Summer Musicals/Disney’s “Lion King” Workshop.
Shaun Martin has performed, created, and collaborated for most of his life, but his own description of his latest release, Seven Summers, is perhaps the best description of his fresh and innovative style: “As I grew over the last seven years, I experienced so much and I wanted to translate that through the music and lyrics.” His natural gift became evident when he started playing drums at the age of four, followed shortly by piano lessons. Despite winning several Grammys® from work with gospel powerhouse Kirk Franklin and jazz fusion phenomenon Snarky Puppy and performing with Yolanda Adams, Timberland, and other well-known artists, Shaun is humble and committed to giving back. He says, “If you give talented people a chance, there’s no stopping them.”