Roy has just been awarded the 2015 Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of Chicago Professional Development Grant! This grant will fund a month long tour of Mexico October 2015 as well as a international press campaign for his recent release, “Martha”.
Roy McGrath is a tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader and sideman living in Chicago, IL. He recently graduated with a master’s degree in Music from Northwestern University, where he studied under Victor Goines (saxophonist for Jazz at Lincoln Center and Director of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University). He transcribes, arranges, and composes music for a variety of situations, and currently works as the Woodwind/Brasswind instructor at Flatt’s and Shape Musical Academy in Chicago.
Born and raised in San Juan, PR, Roy sang in school choirs before picking up the saxophone at age 16. After attending the Berklee College of Music Summer Workshop, he earned a full scholarship to attend Berklee School of Music’s Five Week Summer Performance Program. He honed his improvisational skills by performing with notable jazz pianist and Beach Boys’ alumni Carli Muñoz.
Roy pursued his studies at Loyola University in New Orleans under the tutelage of Tony Dagradi (saxophonist for Astral Project) and composer/arranger John Mahoney. He graduated in 2009 with BM in Jazz Performance. During his time in New Orleans, Roy performed with a variety of musicians including: Gustavo Cortiñas-Fouilloux, Trey Boudreaux, Chris Guccione, Joshua Gouzy, Marlena Dzis, Fredy Omar, John Marcey, Café Con Leche and Easy Company. His performances include three appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and an appearance at the New Orleans French Quarter Fest with Fredy Omar y su Banda Latina.
In addition to his studies, Roy has gained valuable performance experience in a variety of settings. In 2009, he joined the Camp-of-the-Woods wind ensemble playing Broadway, big band, contemporary jazz, classical, and worship music in Speculator, NY. He performed with this ensemble for four years, including serving as the Director of Jazz Small Ensembles and Big Band for two years. He has taught masterclasses on improvisation in Mexico and at the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico; and worked for Suman Entertainment as a tenor saxophonist and doubler on alto/clarinet/flute on cruise ships in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
Roy has played on numerous recordings, both as sideman and band leader. His most recent ones are Kitt Lyles “Real Talk” (2015), and his own production, “Martha” (2014)/He recorded on Easy Company’s self-titled album in 2009, produced by five-time Grammy winner John Snyder and five-time Grammy winning recording engineer David Farrell. In 2010, he recorded an album as leader entitled Long Shot. In 2013 he played on Gustavo Cortinas’ album Snapshot, and toured Mexico in support. He has been recognized in competitions, and placed third in the Union League Civic Arts Foundation Jazz Improvisation Competition in 2013 (Chicago, IL).
Featured Groups Roy performs in:
Roy McGrath Quartet
Gustavo Cortiñas “Snapshot”
Kitt Lyles “Real Talk”
Benjamin Scholz Quartet
Joaquin Garcia’s Rhythm Convergence
Four Star Brass Band
Son de La Habana
Willy Torres Salsa Orchestra *4 time Grammy Winner
Jorge Emanuelli “Los Ancestros” Bomba Project
Funky Hot Grits