Milford Graves

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Milford Graves
Milford Graves.jpg
Background information
Born (1941-08-20) 20 August 1941 (age 73)
Jamaica, Queens, New YorkUnited States
Genres Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, World music
Occupations Musician, songwriter, instructor
Instruments Drums, conga drums, Percussion, timbales, Vocals,
Labels ESP-Disk, Prestige, Fontana, RCA, Tzadik Records
Associated acts Paul Bley, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Graves Pullen Duo

Milford Graves (born August 20, 1941 in Queens, New York)[1] is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, most noteworthy for his early avant-garde contributions in the early 1960s with Paul Bley and the New York Art Quartet. He is considered to be a free jazz pioneer, liberating the percussion from its timekeeping role.[2]

Graves has worked as a sideman and session musician with a variety of established jazz musicians throughout his career, including Don Pullen, Eddie Gómez, Andrew Cyrille, Rashied Ali, Kenny Clarke, Don Moye, Philly Joe Jones, John Zorn and Albert Ayler. He has invested his time in research within the field of healing through music.[3] Graves accepted a job in 1973 as an instructor at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.[1]


As leader[edit]

  • 1965: Percussion Ensemble (ESP Disk)
  • 1977: Meditation Among Us (Kitty)
  • 1977: Babi (IPS)
  • 1998: Grand Unification (Tzadik)
  • 2000: Stories' (Tzadik)

As sideman[edit]

with Montego Joe

with Giuseppi Logan

With Paul Bley

with New York Art Quartet

with the Jazz Composer's Orchestra

with Miriam Makeba

  • Makeba Sings! (RCA)

with Lowell Davidson

with Don Pullen

  • At Yale University (PG)
  • Nommo (SRP)

with Albert Ayler

with Sonny Sharrock

  • Black Woman (Vortex)

with Andrew Cyrille

  • Dialogue Of The Drums (IPS)

with Various Artists

  • New American Music Volume 1-New York Section/Composers of the 1970's (Folkways)

with Sun Ra

  • Untitled Recordings (Transparency)

with Kenny Clarke/Andrew Cyrille/Famoudou Don Moye

with David Murray

with John Zorn

with Anthony Braxton & William Parker


  1. ^ a b "Milford Graves at All About Jazz". All About Jazz. AOL.Muaix. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Litweiler, John (1984). The Freedom Principle:Jazz after 1958. Da Capo. p. 137. ISBN 0-306-80377-1. 
  3. ^ Corey Kilgannon, "Finding Healing Music in the Heart", New York Times, November 9, 2004 Retrieved November 20, 2004

External links[edit]