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James Richard Griffin was born and reared in Jackson, Mississippi. His first musical influence was a neighbor known simply as Mr. Jesse. At evening time, all the neighborhood children would stop by to hear Mr. Jesse’s impromptu blues guitar compositions with lyrics describing the day’s events in rhyme. James began studying piano at age 11 and learned trombone in high school.  His professional career began as a teenager playing piano and trombone in clubs and has not stopped since!

He has developed a highly personalized playing style which he calls”circularphonics”. His ability to combine playing chords on the trombone with circular breathing is unrivaled among Jazz trombonists.

Dick, as he is called, has played with such great musicians as Duke Ellington, Count Basie,Dick Griffin 2 Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald… and the list goes on and on.

But that’s not all he’s done in his 40 years + career, he also became an incredible visual artist.  Dick Griffin’s original interest in the visual arts began in high school and continued as he performed around the world as a professional trombonist.  His passion to paint became stronger when he lived in Paris.  The tastes, sounds, smells and sights of Paris inspired Dick to translate this sensory stimulation onto canvas.

As Dick explains: “When you hear me play, what I put out there is what I’ve experienced; and when I paint, I put the same thing on canvas in a different way.”

Dick Griffin, welcome and thank you for participating in this project even with your hectic schedule.  So let us begin.

No. 1)  What is music to and for you?

1- Music is my life and it has been a big part of my life for a long time.

Dick Griffin BNo. 2) What inspires you?

2- I am inspired by the sounds and colors in music. It really makes me feeling good when I hear good music that fits the mood I am in.

No. 3) When you are playing, creating, where does it take you?  Where does your mind travel?

3- When I am creating music my mind can go to many places. If I am playing something with a lot of energy I could be thinking about running or moving on the dance floor.

No. 4)  Do you think music, visual art and health are related and if so, how?

4-Yes, I think Music and Visual Arts are all connected because you can see an images and hear something in your head. You can hear something and it will make you see something in your mind or think about something good or bad. I am a musician and a visual art and I do clearly understand how my creative process work.

No. 5)  How do you feel when you are playing?

5- I feel something very close to the feeling one gets when you are making love. I can change my mood from sad to happy in a heart beat. Music is drug of choice and I really love it.

No. 6)  Under what conditions do you do your best work?

6- I do my best work when I have had a good meal and a good night’s sleep. The musiciansDick Griffin 5 that I am performing with are all on the same page. My slide is well and moving very fast.

No. 7)  Do you identify with your music and if so, on what level?

7- I identify with the music I play by feeling the message the music is delivering. If it is dance music see and feel people dancing in my head. If it is free stuff, I try to paint a free improved picture in my mind.

No. 8)  Does playing music help you connect with your higher self, whatever that is for you?

8- Yes playing music help me connect to many things. People, places, forms, colors, and the list goes on.

No. 9)  How do you feel about the public school systems and the development of creativity in students?

9- I feeling the public school system has cut programs so much it has taken the one thing that kept me for doing a lot of bad stuff. I feel that music gave me way to be creative instead of being destructive.

No. 10)  What could be a simple solution to improve the development of creativity in students?

10- Give the students musical instrument to play and that will keep them busy competing with each other for the first chair in the band and orchestra instead of gangs and all the bad things that come with that.

Dick Griffin 7No. 11)  What is jazz to you?

11- Jazz is language that Black folks created to contribute world culture and is acknowledged  all over the world. Jazz can be performed by anyone who can speak the language.

Dick Griffin, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, your music, your art with us.  I sincerely appreciate your generosity and your kindness.  I wish you well in all your endeavours and until our paths cross again, be blessed!


You are cordially invited to visit Mr. Griffin’s website to find out more about his fascinating journey as well as to see his paintings which are a pleasure to behold!

Your comments are always appreciated, thank you and enjoy!





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Filed in: MUSIC • Friday, October 28th, 2011

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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours