Greg Grant started playing music when his mother made him take violin lessons when he was 8, that didn’t last long, however, and Zoot from the Muppet Show inspired him to start playing the saxophone at the age of 9, and he’s been making music ever since.
Born in New York City, raised in New York State, he grew up near one of the most diverse melting pot cities on the planet. At Oberlin College/Conservatory, he studied Jazz and played alto sax in the Jazz band led by the great trumpet player, Donald Byrd, for a year. He left after realizing that he wanted to experience life and music outside the walls of an ivory tower. He admires and is inspired by many different styles of music from all over the world ranging from Jazz to Rock, Folk to Techno, Classical to Electronic, Ambient, Textural, Flamenco and Arabic. This love of diversity caused him to travel around quite a bit. He lived in Barcelona, Spain for almost four years but has been more or less nomadic, traveling around Europe, Canada, Central America, and the U.S.A. Now based in northwestern Montana, Greg built Strawbale Studio, a recording studio that functions on solar power and is completely off the grid.
He came to the realization that his favorite musicians were the ones who could write well crafted songs, that serve as a springboard into improvised jamming. He has added his musical style to Jazz bands, World Music groups, Blues bands, Rock bands, Funk Rock bands and Experimental groups. He has done many performances as well at nightclubs, bars, coffeehouses, cultural centers, universities, festivals, fairs, concert halls and in parks and on the street all over North America and Europe. Some major influences on him are: King Crimson, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Cat Stevens, Greg Brown, John Fogerty, John Coltrane, Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Ani Difranco, PJ Harvey, Ali Farka Toure, The Beatles, Brian Eno, Wim Mertens, Steven Reich, Laurie Anderson, Keith Jarrett and Dead Can Dance.
When asked about himself, Greg replied, “I love developing my skills as a songwriter and musician, but it is only to serve the music. I’m not interested in huge amounts of technique that show off my abilities and stroke my ego. Technique is necessary, but only to the point that it allows the music to come through fluidly and powerfully. I think that if you approach music with this attitude then you end up doing things that you never would’ve been able to imagine. The music uses you and plays through you and what comes out of you is a surprise, even to yourself! I’m not interested in playing something the same way over and over again, even if it’s at a high level of playing. I’m interested in using songs I am comfortable with in order to get to that place where I can go away from the song to an unknown, magical place that even I don’t know about, and then come back to the song. I love musicians that have that proper balance of structure and freedom. Too much structure leaves me bored and stifled, and too much freedom leaves me wanting something more solid and well crafted… It’s a difficult thing to achieve, but it’s what I strive for.”