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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
Rob Shipton was born in Barnet in London and started classical piano lessons at the age of 8. His
teenage tastes were heavily influenced by jazz giant Oscar Peterson and the bourgeoning funk scene
including fusion artists such as Steely Dan and Chic Corea. Rob studied music at Exeter University before moving to East Anglia where he completed an honours degree at the UEA. In his musical career, he has played on the liner Queen Elizabeth II and has been a member of many bands including Scratch The Cat and has been musical director for the SuperSwing Big Jazz Band. After at a year in the house band at Warners, a fortuitous move gave Rob the opportunity to join The Gray Project. He is a multi-instrumentalist playing keyboards, guitar, drums and flute.
The other half 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.
Trumpet & Flugelhorn