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BAND

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David Allwood

Guitar, Keys, Flute, Vocals, Percussion

David got involved in music at a very tender age - joining and performing with Orpington Junior Singers. He received classical training in piano and flute but picked up a guitar at the age of 11 and proceeded; like many young boys, to spend many hours in his bedroom attempting to master the instrument. He would still say that he is on that journey! In his teens, David played in a variety of bands playing different styles of music and writing very sophisticated compositions which were performed and recorded. Child rearing and house refurbishing marked a hiatus in David’s musical exploits for some time. Eventually, when asked to play for an event, he picked up a bass which would lead to his re-acquaintance with the guitar and regular performance. David is a talented multi-instrumentalist; he is very much the musical cornerstone of the band. Current instruments include guitar, keyboards, flute, percussion, and vocals.

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Dax Callner is a Bury St Edmunds based American singer, songwriter and producer. Dax moved to the UK from New York City in 2018, where his band The Dayz made a name for itself in the famous West Village scene. He currently leads the Suffolk original rock band Super Jelly, who regularly make the BBC airwaves, and he creates electronic pop and rock in his home studio under the moniker DaxC. Dax's influences span far and wide, from rockers like Led Zeppelin and U2 to funk/rock/R&B pioneer Prince to ethereal royalty Cocteau Twins.

Dax Callner

Lead Vocals

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Mike started playing at the age of 14 and was inspired to pick up the bass guitar after watching a clip of John Entwistle standing in front of a massive stack of speakers playing Won’t Get Fooled Again; he hasn’t put it down since.  Mike has played bass and occasionally lead guitar in all kinds of venues: from tiny pubs to outdoor festivals, in rock, pop, soul, covers and function bands. He also regularly enjoys working as a bass player on studio recording sessions. Mike's many and varied influences include James Jamerson, Chuck Rainey, John Paul Jones and Pino Palladino. He plays Fender and Sadowsky 4 and 5-string basses.

Mike Cameron

Bass

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Jonathan Cushing

Saxophones

Jonathan grew up surrounded by music and spent many years as a chorister in St Mary's church choir in Bury St. Edmunds. ‘After trying out a few instruments I was drawn to the saxophone and any style of music that involved saxes. I was fortunate enough to be in the West Suffolk Youth Jazz Orchestra as a young teenager and sat next to a girl who became my wife. We continue to have a shared love of music and hope to restart our saxophone quartet at some point'. Jonathan went on to study at Leeds College of Music where he gained a BA honours. ‘My saxophones had spent more than a few years under the bed, and I'm so pleased to have this great band as an outlet and reason to play again.’ ‘I enjoy listening to 1970's and 80's jazz, fusion and funk, and my saxophone idols are Bob Berg, Bob Mintzer and Michael Brecker.’

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Nancy Cushing

Baritone & alto saxophones. vocals

Nancy had an early start to music - spending hours at home teaching herself recorder and piano. She had lessons on the cello at school, but had always wanted to learn saxophone, and with help from her grandad, she started playing from the age of 12. Something clicked, and this became her instrument of choice, eventually being awarded a place to train at the Birmingham Conservatoire, gaining a BA honours degree. Her musical journey has been diverse to say the least, touring with The Drifters, performing with the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra (with special guests, such as Jools Holland and Georgie Fame) plus film-soundtrack work, studio sessions and more. Sax player Influences are equally eclectic, including John Surman, Julian Arguelles and Jan Garbarek. Musically she has moved through indie, jazz, funk, dance and contemporary. After a long layoff raising a family, Nancy is back with a vengeance and is thrilled to return to music via TGP. The TGP horn section is very much a family affair, with Nancy sharing the stage with her husband Jonathan, who has been by her side since they first met in a band during their teens!

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Dawn Diaper

Dawn was briefly the lead singer in a pop covers band in her teens, however, she didn’t sing in public until she joined a community choir around 30 years later. Dawn found her voice had changed significantly, ‘When a friend introduced me to a vocal coach, I decided to go along, just out of curiosity! Within a couple of months, I’d been persuaded to do some solo performances, which then led to me joining two bands and forming an acoustic duo. I’ve been gigging regularly now for around four years, singing a wide range of material - from pop to punk, however, the Gray Project is my first foray into jazz/funk.’ Anyone who has seen the band knows that Dawn possesses a sweet, powerful, soulful voice, and is a key component of The Gray Project.

Lead Vocals

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Dave Ferguson

Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals

Dave, a seasoned keyboardist, has been immersed in music since the tender age of eight. His early exposure to diverse genres including Soul, Funk, Blues and Prog Rock shaped his musical sensibility. Dave's passion led him to play in various blues and soul bands, honing his skill and stage presence. As his career progressed, he officially joined The Signatures, a noted Northern Soul band, as their keyboard player, traveling extensively throughout the UK and Europe. Dave's touring experience includes performances in prestigious theatres and major festivals, both domestically and internationally. Over the years, he has collaborated with illustrious artists such as Nolan Porter, Tommy Hunt, Eddie Holman, Bobby Brooks Wilson (son of Jackie Wilson), Gloria Jones, Sidney Barnes, Spyder Turner, among others. These collaborations have not only enriched his career but also cemented his reputation as a versatile and talented musician. Dave draws inspiration from a host of legendary musicians, including Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, Booker T & the M.G.'s, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and George Duke. He has a particular affinity for the Hammond organ, though his talents extend to electric pianos, synths, and strings, showcasing his versatility and deep appreciation for the rich textures of music. He is also an accomplished guitar player.

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Bill Gray

Bill has been playing drums since he was 11 years of age; at 14 his teenage mind was well and truly blown when he was privileged to see Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Max Roach, on the same programme! Turning professional in his late teens he began studying with respected big-band drummer Frank King. Bill then spent six years in countless rock and soul bands travelling up and down the country. There followed a long lay-off when family and the music business beckoned. Then in 2013, He started playing again, taking lessons & improving his technique. When it comes to playing, Bill’s philosophy is simple, ‘I’m an accompanist, it is my job to serve the song’. His favourite drummers are exemplars of this ethos: Roger Hawkins, Andy Newmark, Al Jackson Jnr, Charlie Watts and Steve Jordan.

Drums

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Mike Hazell

Congas, Percussion

Mike’s interest in conga drums was first piqued by hearing English jazz vibraphonist and percussionist Frank Ricotti, who recorded regularly as a busy studio session player at Lansdowne & CTS recording studios in the 80s, where Mike worked as a young tape op / assistant engineer. Interest arroused and keen to learn technique, Mike took lessons in the 90s in London and Cuba from the late great Robin Jones, affectionately known as the UK’s Godfather of Latin music. This led to playing in a broad range of musical settings from Cuban son and timba to jazz, funk and fusion and even a stint in the conga chair for the on-stage Cuban band Sonora La Calle in the West End musical Lady Salsa. Mike describes himself as a serious enthusiast with his favourite musical influences being those from the ‘melting pot’ era of 70s Latin, Jazz, Soul, Funk and Disco citing legendary congueros Ray Barretto, Sammy Figueroa and Paulinho da Costa as being huge influences. Knowing the TGP band share similar musical passions has been a real treat.

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The other third of The Gray Project’s horn section, Mark hails from Leeds and enjoyed the wide variety of musical experiences the city offered a young trumpet player, playing in Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra, Leeds Youth Orchestra and many smaller groups. His love of modern big-band jazz, funk, disco and soul was cemented during this period and since then Mark has played in a variety of funk, disco and soul bands but most frequently lead trumpet in big bands, living out his fantasy of one day getting the call-up from Earth, Wind & Fire, the Brand New Heavies or Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band when all the pros are too busy.

Mark Wightman

Trumpet & Flugelhorn

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