Primary Instrument: Guitar
Guitarist and Los Angeles native Graham Dechter is one of the most promising young jazz musicians on the scene today. Born into a family of musicians, Graham's musical journey began at the age of 5 when he started taking violin lessons and composing various orchestral pieces. His talents as both a violinist and a composer led him to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, CA, one of three prestigious residential arts high schools in the country. It was there that Graham discovered his passion for guitar and began pursuing his life's calling: jazz.
At Idyllwild Arts, Graham studied improvisation with legendary jazz bassist Marshall Hawkins, an experience that profoundly affected his musical development. Graham also studied privately in Los Angeles with guitarist Jim Fox and took every opportunity to attend live performances of his musical heroes, many with whom he would later go on to perform and record. Upon graduation, Graham entered the Jazz Studies program at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. After completing a year at Eastman, at the invitation of Jeff Hamilton, Graham moved back to Los Angeles to accept the guitar seat in the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (CHJO). He was 19 at the time and became the youngest member of the acclaimed orchestra.
Now 23, Graham has performed and recorded with some of the most respected names in jazz, including: Ernie Andrews, Regina Carter, Bill Charlap, Gilbert Castellanos, Kurt Elling, John Faddis, Curtis Fuller, Roberta Gambarini, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Benny Green, Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris, Jimmy Heath, Jon Hendricks, Red Holloway, Quincy Jones, Joe Locke, Joe Magnarelli, Russell Malone, Wynton Marsalis, Barbara Morrison, Les McCann, James Moody, John Pizzarelli, Claudio Roditi, Jackie Ryan, Marlena Shaw, Terell Stafford, Byron Stripling, Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Peter Washington, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson, Phil Woods and Snooky Young. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe with CHJO and has played at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Graham has also been a part of major festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Port Townsend Jazz Festival and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
His debut album, “Right On Time”, is a collection of both well known and seldom played jazz standards featuring songs written by Duke Ellington, Thad Jones and Antonio Carlos Jobim, among many others. Joining Graham for his debut album are jazz luminaries Jeff Hamilton on drums, John Clayton on bass and Tamir Hendelman on piano.
John Clayton, who contributed to the album's liner notes, is quoted as saying: “Graham Dechter's playing is not only a joy to hear, it is a joy to be a part of. Personally, I love a warm guitar sound. Better: I love HIS warm guitar sound. Combine that with some serious swinging, clean arrangements, a high level of intensity and a dose of beautiful lines, and you've got a guitar player that is exciting to play with. The other good part of all of this is that he's still so young. There's just no telling to what wonderful places he will take us.”
Once in a blue moon a talent comes along that grabs everyone's attention. Graham is the most recent one to grab MY attention. ~Jeff Hamilton
Guitarist Graham Dechter's debut album as a leader could hardly be more charming or enjoyable... a virtuosic young guitarist with nothing to prove. ~Rick Anderson (All Music Guide)
Swing-inspired riffs reign supreme on Dechter’s album. The group’s improvisations are manageable while unleashing a free spirit that entices audiences to fly with them. ~Susan Frances (JazzTimes)
Dechter is one of those young phenoms who is jazz mature beyond his years. For a debut, [Right On Time] is a hands-down winner - sophisticated and full of engaging swing tunes. ~Kyle O'Brien (Jazz Society of Oregon)
Graham Dechter, the guitarist in the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, is enormously talented...It's rare to to hear a jazz musician in his young 20's dedicated to playing straight ahead jazz. And he does it with great chops! ~Fred Eckstein (LA Jazz Scene)
Dechter is technically perfect in his musical styles and approach...jazz fans have a lot to look forward to with him! ~Glenn A. Mitchell (LA Jazz Scene)