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, through his association with CHJO and other playing experience, has performed and recorded with some of the most respected names in music, including: Ernie Andrews, Charles Aznavour, Michael Buble, Regina Carter, Gilbert Castellanos, Freddie Cole, Natalie Cole, Bill Charlap, Paquito D'Rivera, 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
What People are Saying . . .
“For her debut release, Melissa Morgan wanted a gritty, retro vibe evocative of classic jazz vocal albums of the 1950s and ’60s. She also wanted to pay tribute to such heroines of that era as Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. On both counts she succeeds admirably, thanks not only to her own mellifluous richness but also to a formidable rhythm section led by pianist Gerald Clayton and various assemblages of horns, including trumpeter Christian Scott on three tracks...But Morgan achieves more than mere mimicry or hero worship. Where the breathless Wilson of the early ’60s seemed honey-dipped, the more audacious Morgan is decidedly salty.”
“Morgan is a consistent joy, and unlike some singers, she commands the band, not the other way around. Given the spicy edge in her sexy voice, her dry allure and the way she pops the words like a whip on a gospel choir, Morgan’s time has come.” ***1/2
“You’ll hear elements of Nancy Wilson, Diana Washington and Dakota Staton in her sound, but Melissa Morgan isn’t copying anybody...with the help of her top-grade studio group, Ms. Morgan’s voice is a shaft of sunlight in our drab summer” *****
Evening Standard (London)
“…a gifted, classically trained jazz and blues singer who can seduce and captivate with her voice alone. At 28, she combines the poise and maturity of a seasoned veteran with the infectious verve of a fresh new talent. Produced by young trumpet phenom Christian Scott, who also performs on four tracks, Until I Met You is one of the most assured and enjoyable debut albums by any jazz singer in recent memory.”
San Diego Union- Tribune
“Give your Norah Jones collection a break and pop in this 27-year-old’s debut CD of classic and obscure jazz tunes. Her sultry voice shines on Nancy Wilson’s ‘Save Your Love for Me’ and ‘I Wonder,’ in which she asks a past love, ‘Will your heart come running back to me?’”