Born: September 3, 1932 Primary Instrument: Drums
Granville Mickey Roker is an American jazz drummer. Roker was born into extreme poverty in Miami to Granville (Sr.) and Willie Mae Roker. After his mother died (his father never lived with them), when he was only ten, he was taken by his grandmother to live in Philadelphia with his uncle Walter, who gave him his first drum kit and communicated his love of jazz to his nephew. He also introduced the young Roker to the lively jazz scene in Philadelphia, where the great Philly Joe Jones became Roker's idol.
Roker learned quickly, and he never stopped playing. In the early 1950s he started to gain recognition as a sensitive and yet hard-driving big-band drummer. Especially favored by Dizzy Gillespie, Roker was soon in demand for his supportive skills in both big-band and small-group settings.
Still active on the Philadelphia scene in the 21st century, Roker has recorded with Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Duke Pearson, Tommy Flanagan, Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Horace Silver, Junior Mance, Sarah Vaughan, Milton Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Bucky Pizzarelli, Stanley Turrentine, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Locke, and a seemingly endless list of other jazz greats.