Jay Graydon is a paradox of sorts. His album Bebop was released in 2001 but don’t let the title fool you. Graydon loves jazz, though he’s not what most would consider a jazz guitarist and though revered by fellow musicians and players alike as a great guitarist (an in-demand LA studio musician featured on albums including Gino Vannelli and Christopher Cross), the instrument is less about his profession (he also plays keyboards) than it is one of the tools he uses to perfect his brand of music.
Consider the following. Most people know Graydon as an extremely accomplished composer yet aside from writing some of Al Jarreau’s most recognizable tunes, among others hits, he co-wrote one of the biggest, and complex, songs ever, “After the Love is Gone” performed by Earth Wind and Fire. His guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Peg” is considered one of the greatest of all times and his production skills (many times working alongside David Foster) landed him credits on albums from Herbie Hancock, George Benson and Manhattan Transfer to Art Garfunkel and Lou Rawls.
With Graydon’s track record, as guitarist, keyboardist, composer and producer, he should be a household name. But as an obsessive perfectionist, he stays pretty much behind the scenes, to his own admission working vampire hours and pushing artists in the studio to the limit or until they get it right.
Intro music: “Kickin’ It” by Jeff Lorber