David Garfield
David Garfield

David Garfield

About David Garfield

David Garfield is a respected keyboardist, composer, and arranger known for his work in jazz, fusion, pop, and more. A West Coast luminary since the '70s and the founder of his own Creatchy Records label, he has distinguished himself with his own projects and with work alongside players like Tom Scott, George Benson, David Sanborn, Steve Lukather, and many others. A founder of the crossover jazz group Karizma, he has released a number of well-received solo albums, including 1997's Tribute to Jeff Porcaro, 2003's Giving Back, and 2020's Outside the Box with singer Alex Ligertwood.
Born in Chicago in 1956, Garfield grew up in New York where he was encouraged to play music at a young age and started with piano lessons. Around 1970, he moved with his family to St. Louis, where he was exposed to a vibrant mix of jazz, blues, rock, and R&B. He began exploring fusion and prog rock, listening to artists like Herbie Hancock, the Crusaders, and the LA Express. After high school, he relocated to Los Angeles where in 1975 he founded the crossover jazz group Karizma. By the early '80s, he had also launched the Creatchy label and in 1983 released the debut album by Karizma, Dream Come True, which featured contributions from Tom Scott and David Paich, as well as Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and drummer Jeff Porcaro. A second LP, Cuba, arrived in 1986 and included bassist Nathan East. More Karizma albums followed throughout the '80s, including All the Way Live and (Forever in The) Arms of Love.
As a leader, Garfield has released a number of projects under his name, including 1989's L.A. Keyboard Project and 1991's Recollections. In 1992, he released Seasons of Change. He followed in 1997 with Tribute to Jeff Porcaro, an all-star homage to the Toto drummer who died in 1992, featuring Don Henley, Eddie Van Halen, Michael McDonald, Richard Marx, and others. The album proved popular and paved the way for more solo albums, including 1998's I Am the Cat...Man. He also joined guitarist Lukather and other Toto members in the group Los Lobotomys, releasing 1994's Candyman.
Along with his own work, Garfield found himself increasingly in-demand as a studio and session player, contributing to projects by David Sanborn, Cher, Freddie Hubbard, Brandon Fields, the Rippingtons, Larry Carlton, and Hiroshima. He has also performed live with artists like Boz Scaggs, Michael Bolton, Natalie Cole, Rick Braun, and others. Since the late '80s, he has also worked as the musical director for guitarist/singer George Benson.
Throughout the 2000s, Garfield stayed busy releasing albums on his Creatchy label, including 2004's Giving Back and 2005's The State of Things. He developed a creative relationship with singer Smokey Robinson, co-writing and producing several albums. He also furthered his work with Benson, co-writing "One Like You" off the guitarist's 2009 album Songs & Stories and arranging, producing, and performing on 2011's Guitar Man. In 2015, he arranged and performed on "Higher Than the World," Benson's duet with Van Morrison on Morrison's Duets: Re-working the Catalogue. Along with studio work, Garfield has remained an active live performer, appearing regularly at the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta where he has performed with artists like Larry Coryell, Gerald Albright, and Alex Ligertwood. In 2012, he was presented with the festival's Hall of Fame Award. Since 2016, he has also toured as a supporting act for saxophonist David Sanborn.
In 2017, Garfield launched his "Outside the Box" project, collaborating for an ongoing series of standalone songs with musicians from across the musical spectrum. Among these releases are a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Go Home," featuring Paul Jackson, Jr. and Kirk Whalum, "Jammin'" featuring Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, and "Stay" featuring George Benson and David Sanborn, among others. In 2020, he again collaborated with Alex Ligertwood for the covers album simply titled Outside the Box. ~ Matt Collar