Music Crafted In Denim | Grifton Forbes-Amos

Meet Grifton: part denim champion, part jazz musician and trumpet player. Now a member of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a talent agency specialising in jazz, Grifton helps aspiring young artists to discover their magic, encouraging those starting out in their craft to enjoy the process and not overthink the music.

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You’re known for being a trumpet player, but you play other instruments too - why?

I’d say my main profession in music is playing trumpet. The way I like to describe how I play other instruments, like piano and bass, is like I’m learning a language. There’s different things you have to learn, such as vowel sounds, phrases and in music there’s notes, phrases that you learn specifically for jazz music. 

The way I learn an instrument is learning the scales, understanding the modes, such as major and minor. Understanding the instrument as a whole makes me feel immersed. I wouldn’t say I necessarily can play all the instruments you see me playing on my Instagram. That’s just my musical brain, but it’s about understanding and adapting to different instruments.

How did you get into playing the trumpet?

I’ve been playing since I was in year 4, when I was pushed to learn by my parents, more specifically my dad. My family has been involved in music, and my dad was keen for me and my brothers to learn an instrument. We had music lessons and I learned how to play piano from my grandfather, who was a pianist, and I learned different instruments in school. The trumpet was the one I liked the most and felt the most comfortable with.

Which other musician would you love to play with? 

Roy Hargrove. He was a trumpet player who passed away recently. His style of playing is the level I want to get to. His dexterity with jazz, funk, soul and bridging them all together is the pinnacle. But there’s so many people that I could pick!

How does the idea of owning your own craft and rewriting the rule book resonate with you?

With jazz, there are a lot of people who want to keep to the traditional: the way it was made in the 1920s and 1930s. But jazz as a collective has grown, and loads of bands have bridged away from that. I want to do that as well, and I don’t want to keep it traditional. There are people who don’t like traditional jazz and like the fusional styles with pop, hip hop, R&B and funk styles or combining it with the improvisational side of jazz. That’s the main thing I want to represent in my music.