Ray Grappone, musician, born in Brooklyn, New York is a professional Drummer, Percussionist and Producer.
Ray is a native New Yorker of Italian descent, the son of Marie and Carmine Grappone. Surrounded by the music and record collections of his older Brothers, he was immediately taken in with the music. By the age of 12, his parents purchased his first set of drums and Ray began studying privately with Normie Wayne in Brooklyn who was a big influence to him.
After graduating from Lafayette High School, Grappone, received a BA in Percussion Performance from Kingsborough College and an MA in Music Education from Herbert Lehman College. There he gained vast experience playing in Percussion ensembles, Chamber, Orchestra, Opera and Concert Band all while playing with Local Blues, Rock and Swing Big Bands in NYC. Private instruction for Ray included, Jim Priess, Joe Morello, Kenwood Dennard, Papo Daddiego, Frank Malabe, Kim Plainfield and Ray Marchica.
On Broadway, Ray played more than 20 productions. He held the drum chairs at “Blood Brothers”, “Side Show”,”Little Me”, “The Flower Drum Song”, “Marie Christine”, “Bombay Dreams”, subbing on others including “Les Miserables”, “Rent”, “Wicked, “The Producers”, “The Boy From Oz” and many others. Off Broadway Grappone worked with Alan Menken on “Weird Romance”, Stephen Sondheim on “Saturday Night” and Noel Coward’s “If Love Were All” with Twiggy.
Ray performed in the National tours of “Jerry’s Girl’s”, “Starlight Express”, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Music Of The Night” (38 piece Orchestra featuring Colm Wilkinson). Also, “A Chorus Line” World Tour covering 160+ cities covering all of Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
His first recording was the “Jerry’s Girl’s” cast album on Polydor Records. Other cast album recordings include, “Side Show” (Sony), “The Flower Drum Song” (DRG), “Saturday Night” Sondheim (Nonesuch) and “Little Me” (Varese Sarabande).
Ray was personal Drummer for the great Carol Channing (2 Years) and Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie (20 Years).
Other performances included playing for Bette Midler, Eddie Fisher, Carole King, Patti Page, The Radio City Rockettes and The New York City Opera, and Shakespeare’s “King Lear” with Kevin Kline.
Ray owned “The Drummer’s Workshop” in Brooklyn for 5 Years where he taught privately and hosted Master classes with percussion greats a highlight was Arnie Lang percussionist for The New York Philharmonic.
Ray became in immersed in the underground Acid Jazz sound of the 90’s and opened a recording and rehearsal space on NY’s Lower East Side. After recording for various labels in the scene, he then, with partners Vicki Bell and Dennis Martin, launched Hipbone Records specializing in soulful dance music and beats. Hipbone produced 20 vinyl singles and licensed their music to over 60 compilations world wide. Ray began his very successful Beats & Grooves drum series and released 2 volumes, “Double Drums” with Genji Siraisi and “Skins, Metal and Wood” with Norberto Goldberg. In Dance and Electronic genre’s, Grappone produced and recorded with Open Door, Ron Trent, Tommy Musto, Filthy Rich and other great Remixers and DJ’s. Hipbone expanded their studio/label space to Red Hook, Brooklyn, and began releasing full length CD’s in the blues/jazz/soul genres. Notably with Blues and Soul phenom Alexis P Suter and her band.
In Rock, Blues and Indie, Ray has performed with Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Felix Cavaliere, Alexis P Suter, Vassar Clements, Amy Helm, Coati Mundi, The Bennett Brothers, Felix Cabrera, Bruce Katz, Lazy Boy, Jesus H Christ, Dem Brooklyn Bums Big Band, Open Door and many others.
Blues/Rock Recordings include APSB, “Shuga’ Fix” (Hipbone), “Live at the Midnight Ramble”(Levon Helm Studios), “Another Fool”(Hipbone), “Two
Sides” (Hipbone) and “Love the Way You Roll” (American Showplace Music), and releases by Bennett, Michael Falzarano Kerry Kearney and Dave Rave and Marc McCarron.
Television and Film credits include; “IMUS in the Morning”, “The Artie Lange Show” and “The Accidental Husband” starring Uma Thurman, Colin Firth and Isabella Rosellini.
Currently Ray plays with multiple Blues Music Award nominee Alexis P Suter, Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen) and Singer - Songwriter Jim Petrie.