Trombonist, audio engineer Gary King is unsung figure

Credit: Don Thrasher

Credit: Don Thrasher

While many people don’t know his musical history, Gary King has been a major local figure since joining funk group Sun in the 1970s. The trombone player and audio engineer then amassed vast credits during his two decades at Refraze Recording Studio.

“It’s weird because I’ve connected with a new circle of musicians over the last few years that know me from playing trombone,” King said. “They don’t necessarily think of me as a recording engineer and studio producer. I’m in a horn section that performs and records with different people. We also play with Heather Redman and she didn’t know my history with Sun or Refraze.”

King recently retired from Stivers School for the Arts after being an adjunct teacher of audio recording for 19 years. In addition to playing with Heather Redman & the Reputation and being a horn player-for-hire, he’s currently an audio engineer and producer at Dayton Sound Studios, Curt Hedberg’s newer facility at 1625 Springhill Ave. in Kettering.

“I’ve never owned my own studio,” King said. “Over the years, many people asked why I didn’t buy Refraze or start my own studio. Working there, I didn’t have to use my own money. I came to Dayton Sound Studios because I had the rare opportunity to work in a recording studio space that was ready to go. It was prewired and already had isolation booths and it was available. I had been accumulating some recording equipment, a nice console, microphones and studio monitors. I didn’t really know why. I just knew they’d come in good use and then here was this opportunity.”

Watch Gary King on trombone with Heather Redman & the Reputation, performing at Sound Valley Music Festival in August 2022:

At Refraze, King worked with local acts like Slave, Dementia Precox, Pleasures Pale and Fig. 4. At Dayton Sound Studios, he has recorded Nick Kizirnis, Subterranean, Kyleen Downes and Pete Price among other locals.

“We’ve embraced the hybrid recording, which is when part of it was done at home and part was done in a studio,” King said. “Some people come here and do everything. Sometimes people just want to do lead vocals because we have microphones people won’t have at their house. There’s also a comfort factor. When people come in here and see the rooms, even before they hear anything, the first thing they say is, ‘I love the vibe.’ That’s a big part of being creative. You also don’t have to worry about the technical part. You can put that aside and worry about being creative.”

More info: 937-800-4331 or

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or

About the Author