Keyboardist David Garfield Breaks 'Outside The Box'

Keyboardist David Garfield Breaks 'Outside The Box'Veteran keyboardist David Garfield entered the year with a single in the Billboard Top 10 ("Go Home") before announcing the details of his ambitious recording project, "Outside the Box." The multidisc, multi-genre series of albums trickling out over a multi-year span features high-wattage assemblages of Grammy winners, legends, hit-makers and prominent musicians including members of the Zac Brown Band, Steely Dan, Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, The Doors, Chicago, Toto, Tower of Power and The Meters.

The first two volumes, "Jazz Outside the Box" and "Jammin' Outside the Box," arrived to critical acclaim and an abundance of global airplay that launched another single into the Billboard Top 10 ("Jamming") around the same time that another song ("I Lied") that he wrote with Smokey Robinson vaulted up the country singles and video charts. The Creatchy Records releases produced and arranged by Garfield that are being promoted to radio outlets around the world are certain to capture the attention of NARAS voters. The offerings were submitted for consideration in more than 26 categories for the Grammy ballot.

Although Garfield began his five-decade career in straight-ahead jazz as a teenager playing behind bebop trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, he never released his own session in that jazz realm prior to the March release of "Jazz Outside the Box." Among the luminaries who collaborated with Garfield on the set list comprised of originals, standards and modern classics are The Doors' John Densmore, Wallace Roney, Poncho Sanchez, Steve Jordan. Randy Brecker, Michael McDonald, Tom Scott, Eric Marienthal, Pete Christlieb, Bennie Maupin, Jason Scheff, Brian Auger, Will Lee, Charlie Bisharat's String Quartet, an orchestra conducted by John Clayton, and farewell performances by late guitarists Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell.

The two Billboard Top 10 singles are part of "Jammin' Outside the Box," which dropped last month. This outing is centered on the R&B, contemporary jazz and instrumental pop genres that have been the primary focus of Garfield's accomplished career. Also spawned from this set is a star-studded version of the Rufus hit "Stay" that features the band's former drummer, Richard "Moon" Calhoun, singing the song he wrote with Chaka Khan. Guitar legend George Benson and saxophone icon David Sanborn trade solos on the disc's latest single. A pair of one-of-a-kind voices, Robinson and McDonald unite on the search for "One Like You," another Garfield-Robinson original to which Sanborn's sax adds luster. Ray Parker Jr., Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Marcus Miller, Oleta Adams, Phil Perry, Paul Jackson Jr., Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, Mike Campbell, Kenya Hathaway, Bill Champlin, John Klemmer, Will Lee, Tony Maiden, and Rickey Minor also appear on the album's guest list.

While "Jazz Outside the Box" and "Jammin' Outside the Box" attract the airplay and accolades reserved for lofty recordings of this level of breadth, depth, quality, history, magnitude, prestige and star power, perhaps the biggest surprise came when the heartache ballad that Garfield wrote with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robinson landed on the Music Row and Billboard Indicator charts. The accompanying video for "I Lied" sung by J. Paris was added to the Heartland Network playlist reaching over 22 million households.

In between fronting his own band at dates supporting "Outside the Box" that included a July gig opening for McDonald and a spate of European and U.S. concerts in his familiar role as Benson's longtime music director, Garfield toils in the studio laying down tracks, crafting fresh arrangements and recording an array of music royalty for the continuing chapters of "Outside the Box," which will consist of a vocal album, a fusion excursion that includes extended versions of songs released as part of the project, and a holiday-themed "box."

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