How Can I Fill My Calendar As A Musician?

  • Gary Grainger
  • 'Grainger' (band) 'Pockets' (band)

  • Bass Player

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If you're a musician who depends on being hired by artists to back them, chances are you know the struggle of staying steadily booked. After all, there are only so many gigs to go around.

In this video, world-renown bassist, Gary Grainger, explains the many things he does to keep his gig calendar full.

Insights That Gary Shares In This Video

Create Your Own Gigs

Learn how Gary has launched many of his own different  styles of bands to stay busy.

Choosing Gig

Learn the proper protocol for committing to one gig but getting a better offer.

Roster of Players

Learn how Gary has developed a roster of musicians to fill any kind of gig.


Learn the challenges that juggling working with multiple acts can pose.


Do you need to guard your reputation and only take higher profile or paying gigs?

Memory and Diversity

Learn the value of learning to play countless songs in all styles so you can fill in anywhere.
About The EXPERT

Gary Grainger

When Gary Grainger speaks, it’s usually in clean bass tones articulated in musical dialects ranging from fusion to pure jazz. Music aficionados everywhere have heard a lot of what Gary has to say.

From his early days with soul singer Luther Ingram to his years as a member of Earth, Wind and Fire's protégé band " Pockets" to his contribution to John Scofield's celebrated quartet, Gary Grainger is talking bass, bass, and more bass.

A self-taught player, Gary learned the bass as a teenager. He gave up his interest in drums when his father brought home an old electric bass given to him by a co-worker. Gary also toyed with the tuba and sousaphone in high school. Though surrounded by musical influences for most of his early life, at 18, Gary enrolled as an art major at Morgan State University in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. He kept his interest in the bass alive by playing in local bands on weekends when his studies permitted- While at Morgan, Gary became involved with both the marching and stage bands.

Subsequent to Pockets, Gary began to freelance doing studio sessions. Between Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York. During this point of his career, he met EumirDeodato and recorded two albums with him: Night Cruise and Happy Hour. Fortunately, 1986 was not to be the year of exception. Upon hearing one of Gary's live performances on tape, guitarist John Scofield inducted him into his quartet to create the bass platforms that would support Scofield's own style and musical vision.

In 1993, Gary, his Brother Greg and their partner Tony Bulluck, the tour manager for Whitney Houston, developed a sophisticated mini-recording studio. Through a very effective use of space and some creative engineering concepts, the trio designed Hillview Studios to support musicians who want to bridge the two worlds of acoustic and digital sound. Since then, they have been busy producing a broad range of artists whose music runs the gamut from jazz and rap to pop and gospel, as well as creating original jingles and music scores for Umbro Sports, ABC Sports/Nutmeg Mills, Rudo Sports and others.

Gary's other recent endeavors include, both performing and studio work with Maysa, Lonnie L. Smith, Pure Soul, Nancy Wilson, Dennis Chambers and George Duke in the Walt Disney's Clinton Inauguration Special "Celebrations for Youth", also Eric Marienthal, Slim Man, Nelson Rangel, The WPG Trio, Less Traveled and Ken Navarro to name a few. Grainger was also the opening act for the East Coast All Star Jazz ensemble at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington D.C in July of 2004.

In 2019, Gary released his third album "Grainger Phase III" with his brother Greg. "Grainger Phase I and Phase II" were very well received by the public winning 3 Wamma awards, 1997,1998 and 2000. Gary's excitement about the collaboration with Greg is contagious as he explains: "These projects are a serious effort for me. Whenever Greg and I join forces we create a very dynamic chemistry. That's what we're going to get on tape-that special magic that happens between us when we play together. It’s a family thing I guess.”

One of Gary’s finalized endeavors include, The Meritxell Project, a CD with a blend of Contemporary, World, Latin, Funk and R&B. This CD features the vocal styles of Meritxell Negre. Gary is now touring with Bill Evans, the international group Acoustic Alchemy, and currently working on a new signature series bass line with PRS (Paul Reed Smith).

Gary recently performed on tour with Robben Ford tour as well as Bill Evans, Mike Stern and Dennis Chambers,

The reunion of his band Pockets has become a successful come back project, and the group is currently working on booking events for 22023.


There’s a certain musical chemistry that develops between great musicians who play together all the time. The Graingers have been playing together all their lives, and the chemistry they have developed is simply astounding.

This is why the Grainger brothers have become one of the most sought after and respected rhythm sections in the world. Growing up in a musical family in Baltimore, MD they have been collaborating and playing together for over four decades, as well as lending their musical talents to numerous world class musicians (Whitney Houston, Santana, Earth Wind & Fire, Acoustic Alchemy, Jon Schofield, Kim Waters to name just a few) and building a reputation as the best of the best among both fans and fellow musicians.

Their live shows are spectacular, appealing to both audiences who just want to dance the night away and those who appreciate the incredible musicality of the groups they play in.

As well as lending their talents to other people's projects as session musicians, they have also released two highly acclaimed albums, Phase I and Phase II, featuring their signature sound of tight grooves, funky licks and catchy melodies. Following the release of Phase I and Phase II, Grainger has just released Phase III on GBM Records to critical acclaim. The album features guest appearances by Kim Waters and Grammy nominated Jazz pianist Jim Beard, as well as the radio hits "You Never" and "Watch Me Now".

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