Euge Groove — a pseudonym for saxophone journeyman Steve Grove — began playing piano in the second grade and turned to the saxophone at the age of nine or ten. His teacher gave him a classical education on the instrument, which he followed at the University of Miami’s School of Music, where he became interested in jazz. Upon graduation, he initially remained in Miami doing sessions and playing in bands such as Expose, where he can be heard on the group’s 1987 number one single “Seasons Change.” He then moved to Los Angeles and joined Tower of Power, remaining with the group about four years. Following this experience, he freelanced, doing sessions and working in backup bands, his clients including Joe Cocker, Eurythmics, the Gap Band, Huey Lewis & the News, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville, Eros Ramazotti, and Richard Marx. His saxophone appeared on Marx’s Top 20 pop and number one AC hit “Keep Coming Back” in 1991. At the end of the ’90s, Grove developed the persona of Euge Groove, a corruption of his real name, and recorded a demo that attracted the attention of various labels. This demo soon landed him with Warner Bros. Records. Euge Groove, his debut album, was released in May 2000. At the time, the saxophonist toured in Tina Turner’s backup band. He followed up with 2002’s Play Date, featuring the singles “Slam Dunk” and “Rewind.” In 2004, Grove moved to Narada for the ’70s pop-soul-inflected Livin’ Large. Grove stuck with the ’70s vibe for 2005’s Just Feels Right and then incorporated a more gospel approach for 2007’s Born 2 Groove. He moved to Shanachie for 2009’s Sunday Morning. In 2011, Grove returned with his seventh studio effort, the fittingly titled Seven Large on Shanachie, with two more releases following for the label, 2012’s House of Groove and 2014’s Got 2 B Groovin. ~ William Ruhlmann
Singer, actress, musician, and model Vanessa Williams has not only confounded her critics over her 20+ year performing career, she has shown a rare fortitude, overcoming tremendous obstacles to fashion successful careers in music and movies.
Born to musician parents in New York in 1963, Williams began playing multiple instruments as a child and showed an early knack for performing. She later attended Syracuse University, where her striking beauty led to her entry in several beauty pageants. Her combination of looks and musical talent ultimately resulted in her selection as the first African American Miss America in 1983. Unfortunately, she became a lightning rod for controversy when some ill-advised nude photos of her were sold by a photographer to Penthouse magazine, ultimately forcing her to give up her Miss America crown.
It appeared that Williams would forever become a trivia question, but rather than remain a pariah, she, with the help of husband/manager Ramon Harvey, slowly and deliberately began to fashion both and acting and a singing career for herself. Her debut album, 1988’s The Right Stuff, became a surprise smash on both Urban and Adult Contemporary radio, buoyed by the bouncy title cut and the smooth pop ballad “Dreamin'” (previously recorded by the family group Guinn). Even bigger was her 1991 follow-up, The Comfort Zone, and its irresistible, uber-popular hit ballad, “Save the Best For Last.” Williams’ slight but tonally beautiful voice was perfect for the song, and her standout performance made “Save the Best” one of the year’s best and biggest singles. She followed up nicely a couple years later with her third album, The Sweetest Days. Williams’ return from the Miss America embarrassment became complete in 1994 when she was chosen by Disney to sing the theme song, “Colors of the Wind,” from the animated movie Pocahontas.
During the 90s Williams was also making her mark in acting, scoring a coup with her co-starring role in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Erasure and the popular Soul Food, and also landing a role on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
After releasing the Christmas album Starbright, in 1997, Williams recorded Next, her first unsuccessful album, and her last recording for seven years. She used the break from recording to spend more time acting on stage and screen and also increased her work on commercials and product endorsements. Williams returned to recording in 2004 with Silver and Gold, her second Holiday album (her first, Starbright, was released in 1996). In 2005,Williams released Everlasting Love, an album of covers of some of her favorite songs from the 70s. The disc came and went from the charts without making an impact.
Williams’ acting career received a boost as she joined the cast of television’s Ugly Betty, introducing her to a new generation of fans. She signed with Concord Records and issued a disappointing album of remakes, The Real Thing, which featured the nice midtempo “Just Friends” but not much else.
David Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album. Having inspired countless other musicians, Dave has worked in many genres which typically blend instrumental pop, R&B and lately, more and more traditional jazz. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school when he was inspired by the great Chicago blues artists near his hometown of St. Louis.
Having contracted polio at the age of three, Dave was introduced to the saxophone as part of his treatment therapy. By the age of 14, he was able to play with legends such as Albert King and Little Milton. Dave went on to study music at Northwestern University before transferring to the University of Iowa where he played and studied with the great saxophonist JR Monterose.
Later traveling to California on the advice of a friend, he joined the Butterfield Blues Band and played Woodstock with Paul Butterfield. Following that, Dave toured with Stevie Wonder and recorded for Wonder’s Talking Book album, played with The Rolling Stones, and toured with David Bowie with whom he recorded the famous solo heard on “Young Americans”. At the same time, Dave was touring and recording with the great Gil Evans, dividing his time between the two. After moving to New York City and studying with George Coleman, Dave started his solo career where he later collaborated with such artists as Paul Simon and James Taylor.
Dave’s solo release of Taking Off in 1975—still considered a classic—further solidified his career. His 1979 release of Hideaway became a popular hit and further propelled Dave’s ascent with the single, “Seduction” being featured in the movie, American Gigolo. Veteran bassist and composer Marcus Miller joined Dave on the 1981 album, Voyeur. The single, “All I Need Is You” won Dave his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. In 1983, Dave released the hit album Backstreet that included Luther Vandross as a featured guest vocalist. Later albums have included guest artists such as Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hayden, Wallace Roney, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, and Eric Clapton.
Moving onto television, Dave hosted the show, Night Music from 1988 to 1990. Produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, the show featured films of jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and Billie Holiday, as well as banter and memorable music jams by a remarkable list of musicians including Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Pharoah Sanders, and many others. Additionally, Dave has regularly hosted the “After New Year’s Eve” TV special on ABC. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dave hosted a syndicated radio program, The Jazz Show with David Sanborn. Dave has also recorded many shows’ theme songs as well as several other songs for The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.
In his three-and-a-half decade career, Dave has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre, with 2010 tour dates exceeding 150. Considered as a whole, Dave is an artist who pushes the limits and continues to make music that challenges the mind and goes Straight to The Heart.
Bobby Caldwell’s live performances are always electrifying! Drawing from his vast repertoire of rousing R&B, intimate smooth jazz stylings, and big band songs, Bobby has the ability to entertain at any venue, for fans of all ages. In Japan and throughout Asia, he enjoys a feverish popularity, selling out shows and achieving gold and platinum status for his releases in those countries. In addition to heavy touring, Bobby starred as Frank Sinatra in the David Cassidy/Don Reo theatrical production “The Rat Pack Is Back” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bobby received rave reviews for his performance, both from industry critics and from his loyal fans.
Bobby has been featured on The CBS Second Cup Café, The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, BET Jazz Central, and has made numerous national and local network appearances.
As a singer, he has a successful career with numerous solo releases, which have earned accolades far and wide. His songwriting skills have earned hits not only for himself, but also for well-known artists like Chicago, Boz Scaggs, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant, Neil Diamond and Al Jarreau.
Bobby’s timeless classic, “What You Won’t Do For Love” has been recorded and sampled by more than 100 artists, including rendition by Boys II Men. A sample of Bobby’s song “Open Your Eyes” appeared in the Grammy nominated platinum rap hit “The Light” by Common. All combined, Bobby’s songs and samples have contributed to over 40 million sales, while artists as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Michael Bolton, Roberta Flack, Go West, Vanessa Williams and Notorious B.I.G. have all paid tribute to the blue-eyed singer in the slouch hat. Bobby’s classic song was sung by Elliot Yamin during the final 3 round of American Idol 2006.
Major motion picture and television credits have brought Bobby’s music to even broader audiences. His original composition, “The Girl I Dream About” was included in Hillary Duff’s film, “The Perfect Man”, and in Charlie Matthau’s film, “Her Minor Thing” and in “Simone”, starring Al Pacino. Previously, his rendition of “Beyond The Sea” was selected by actor/director Joe Mantegna as the opening theme for his directorial debut “Lakeboat.” The song fit so well with the movie that Mantegna commissioned Bobby to compose an original piece, “(Oh Boy!) You’ve Got It Made,” as the closing theme. “Beyond The Sea,” along with “All The Way” and “The Girl I Dream About” are also featured in the motion picture “My First Mister” starring Albert Brooks and directed by Christine Lahti. “I’ve Got The World On A String” was used in “Hearts In Atlantis” starring Anthony Hopkins. “Luck Be A Lady” is the featured track in the movie “The Cooler,” starring William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, and Paul Sorvino.
Bobby’s songs and albums have been released in the USA, Japan and throughout the globe, and have been enjoyed by millions of fans.
Born in Manhattan and raised in Miami, Bobby came from a show business family. His mother and father both sang and were the hosts of one of the first musical variety programs on television, “Suppertime.” Bobby grew up listening to show tunes, the music of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, as well as The Beatles. These early influences are prevalent in Bobby’s singing and songwriting.
Bobby chose a career in music at the tender age of 17. He has devoted his entire life to song writing, recording, performing and most of all making people happy. Bobby has toured the USA and the globe for 40 years, bringing his music to fans of all ages and backgrounds, and he continues to do so.
From the first note, Lindsey Webster captivates listeners. Her rich, soulful voice enchants a dedicated following who connect with the raw emotion she shares with them. As a Soul R&B artist, she combines an admirable natural talent with a genuine, accessible stage presence.
Webster considers herself “very, very lucky” to have grown up in Woodstock, NY. With a heavy emphasis on arts and music, her grade school had a progressive music program where Lindsey cultivated a deep love of music by learning the cello. After playing for 10 years, often in first chair, she moved to NYC to attend Fiorello H. LaGuardia School for the Music, Art & Performing Arts. As she grew musically, she transitioned from strings to voice where she heard her calling and found herself.
In 2009, Lindsey met her partner, Keith Slattery, and started performing professionally. Together, with a band of world-class musicians, they’ve performed over 600 shows in venues including Yoshi’s Oakland, The Iridium, North Sea Jazz Club, Pizza Express, Levon Helm Studios, Daryl’s House, Helsinki Hudson, The Falcon, The Bitter End, and the Bearsville Theater.
The success of her second album, You Change, and achieving the only vocally driven song to hit #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart for four weeks (beating out Sade’s previous record of three weeks) caught the eye of Shanachie Entertainment, whom she signed with to release her third album, “Back To Your Heart”. This third relelase shows a real transition and beautiful growth for Webster as an artist. While humbled her voice has been compared to R&B royalty Sade, Mariah Carey, and Anita Baker, Lindsey looks to bring her distinct style to Soul R&B and continue to make music that resonates with her fans.
With the release of their highly anticipated Woodward Avenue Records project, Southern California’s premiere R&B, funk and contemporary powerhouse band DW3 lets the world in on a cool CD titled, “Vintage Truth.”
Driven by the ever-evolving musical vision of core members – Brothers Eric and Billy Mondragon and close family friend Damon Reel – their deepening artistry continues to transcend a well-earned reputation as a high energy, fun and freewheeling party band. Eric, Billy and Damon all contribute lead and harmony vocals, while Eric plays keys (including synth horns and strings) and Billy adds percussion.
Building on the success of their single, “I Got You” featuring Gerald Albright, (#16 on the Billboard charts) and the “On The Floor” album that went #1 on the UK soul charts, DW3 – now expanded to nine a piece ensemble. The addition of a horn section really sets the tone for their live shows. The truth is in the twelve tracks of their “Vintage Truth” CD. Delivering original vocal tracks along with freshly re-imagined covers of classics like The Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why,” Luther Vandross’ “So Amazing” and Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed.” The project also includes DW3’s soulful take on The Mamas & the Papas gem “California Dreamin’,” which won the California Lottery Powerball song contest and spawned a popular YouTube video.
DW3 continues to anchor Thursday nights and the 94.7 The Wave Sunday Brunch at Spaghettini’s in Seal Beach and Beverly Hills, the band also continues to entertain Festival and Cruise-goers several times a year. The versatile ensemble is rapidly emerging as a multi-faceted recording outfit in their own right.
Adam Hawley, currently a resident of Los Angeles, started his music career in the Portland Metro Area of Oregon before moving to Southern California in 2002. He has performed and/or recorded in a myriad of settings with such artists as Jennifer Lopez, The Backstreet Boys, Joss Stone, Natalie Cole, Dave Koz, Lalah Hathaway, Ruben Studdard, Sheila E, Peabo Bryson, Terry Lewis, Larry Graham, Jordin Sparks, Fantasia, Eric Benet, Rahsaan Patterson, Mario, Monica, The Manhattan Transfer, Marc Anthony, Flo Rida, Lil’ Wayne, Wisin Y Yandel, Pit Bull, Phil Perry, Jessy J, Kenny Latimore, Michael McDonald, Tiara Thomas, Montell Jordon, Sally Richardson-Whitfield, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliott, Euge Groove, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Take 6, Ray Parker Jr., Nick Collione, Gregg Karukas, Michael Lington, Jonathan Fritzen, Selina Albright, Eric Darius, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Phillipe Saisse, Peter White, Althea Rene, Elan Trotman, Rick Braun, Brian Simpson, Mindi Abair, Keiko Matsui, Peter White, War, John Hendrix, The New York Voices, Marc Antoine, Regina Carter, Chick Corea, The Escovedo Project, Onitsha, Barbara Lewis, Styles P, and Regina King. He holds endorsements with D’Addario, Gibson, Martin, PRS, Taylor, Carvin, Voodoo Labs, Duesenberg, Suhr, Nash, Benedetto, Divided By 13, Orange, Xotic, XTS, and Reunion Blues.
Willie Bradley is a graduate of South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC where he earned a BS Degree in Music Education and Performance. Over the course of his career, Willie has played with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Max Roach, Betty Carter and Nat Adderley. Willie came from the funk band Big Bertha and eventually formed the Willie Bradley Trio. Bradley and two other members: Cornell Young (drums) and Ted Ash (keyboards) went on to form Essential Elements and produce a successful, upscale event the first Saturday of every month in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn Bordeaux in Fayetteville, NC.
Bradley had originally met Ted years earlier when the two were part of another group called The Package Band. Cornell had played in numerous rock groups. Collectively, the trio has opened for or played with various smooth jazz and blues artists such as Fourplay, Eric Darius, Pamela Williams, Terry Cummings, Mike Phillips, Joey Sommerville, Junior Wells, Bobby Blue Bland, Gordon James, Marcus Anderson and Ryan Kilgore.
Now, Willie Bradley adds to his musical timeline, a burgeoning solo career and is working on a new album, Another Day & Time. The set, which includes ten lively horn tracks, is being co-written by Bradley and keyboardist Nicholas Cole, who also handles production on the album.
The O’Jays are touring history, a connection to an era and a sound that formed the soundtrack for the lives of several generations. The O’Jays are still hitting the road with the same electrifying energy they’ve had for over 50 years.
Walter Williams and Eddie Levert first met when they were the ages of 6 and 7 respectively. As teenagers in Canton, Ohio, they formed a band originally consisting of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles. In 1963, the band took the name “The O’Jays” in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay. Several members have changed, but the core, original lead singers Eddie Levert and Walter Williams, continue to front the group.
In 1972, Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters with whom the O’Jays had been working for several years, signed the group to their Philadelphia International label. With this magic formula, often called The Sound of Philadelphia, The O’Jays scored the first number 1 and million-seller, “Backstabbers.” Subsequently, they succeeded with various chart-topping pop and R&B singles including “Love Train”, “Put Your Hands Together”, “For The Love of Money”, “I Love Music”, “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)”, “Livin’ For The Weekend” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.” This success propelled The O’Jays to be the first black vocal group to perform in arenas throughout America during the 70s and 80s.
Eddie and Walter have a rare lifelong bond that few of us will ever experience; friends and partners for almost 65 years. “We still appreciate our friendship, dedication to each other and the group and our love for good music.” Walter continues, “We probably could have had great solo careers, but I don’t think either one of us could have ever have been as big as The O’Jays.” Walter Williams could be considered a hero as he has battled Multiple Sclerosis or “MS” for 30 years and continues to execute his dance moves with perfection when performing on-stage with the group. Walter is also a volunteer National Ambassador for the MS Society and a spokesperson for MS Active Source. Eddie Levert is known for his raspy voice and has a range that takes him from alto to second tenor. Levert teamed up with his son Gerald for a duet on “Baby Hold On To Me”, which hit number one on the R&B charts. Eddie has also mentored his very successful sons Gerald and Sean who became major forces in the music industry.
The O’Jays were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005 and honored with BET’s Life Time Achievement Award in 2009. In 2013, they were inducted into The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame. Today, the songs of The O’Jays are still being used in many movies, commercials and TV shows. “For The Love of Money” continues to be the theme song for “The Apprentice.”
Eddie Levert Sr., Walter Williams Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1995, continue to thrill fans today. Throughout their career The O’Jays have achieved 10 Gold albums, 9 Platinum albums and 10 #1 hits. It’s been a long journey but thanks to the fans the LOVE TRAIN is still going strong!
Having embarked upon one of instrumental music’s most dynamic and multi-faceted career, Richard Elliot’s sound has played a huge part in pioneering the genre and radio format that became today’s contemporary urban jazz.
Born in the Scottish highlands and transplanted to Los Angeles at the age of three, he primarily grooved to R&B and was smitten with the Motown sound. As a teenager, he was taken by the tenor sax and found himself capable of expressing his own musical voice through it.
His early career included touring with Natalie Cole and Yellowjackets and recording sessions with Motown soul heavyweights like Smokey Robinson and The Temptations.
While touring with Tower of Power, he released his debut solo album Trolltown and the success of that album encouraged him to go solo. His subsequent career has been nothing short of phenomenal.
His numerous #1 albums include On The Town, Soul Embrace, After Dark and Jumpin’ Off and he has held a consistent presence at the top of the Billboard and NAC charts. Elliot has also enjoyed the distinction of having two releases chart simultaneously; Chill Factor remained on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 94 weeks, 26 weeks simultaneously with the greatest-hits collection, The Best of Richard Elliot.
His most recent recording, Summer Madness, inspired Richard to want to tour with a three-piece horn section and a supporting cast of musicians. He reached out to his long-time collaborator, Rick Braun, and guitarist Norman Brown to join him in creating West Coast Jam, a wall of sound that will be funky and rocking.
Nearly twenty years into his solo career, Rick Braun’s done just about everything, from backing the likes of Rod Stewart and Sade to stepping out into the spotlight as a vocalist and a master of the trumpet and flugelhorn.
The Allentown, Pennsylvania-born Braun began playing music in elementary school, ultimately winding up at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. There he hooked up with like-minded musicians to form a jazz-fusion combo, Auracle.
Braun’s first big break came when he composed “Here With Me,” a Top 20 hit for REO Speedwagon. He soon became a highly regarded pop sideman, touring and recording with the likes of Rod Stewart, War, Sade, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, and Tom Petty.
The trumpeter became a NAC fixture with his debut, Intimate Secrets. His records have ranked in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart with Kisses in the Rain reigning at #1 for 11 weeks and his singles have held the #1 position on the R&R NAC/Smooth Jazz album charts.
The recipient of numerous National Contemporary Jazz Awards, he shared a Best Collaboration award with Boney James for their hit Shake It Up. He also teamed up with Richard Elliot in RnR and their duet project hit #1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. A much-in-demand producer, he has delivered #1 radio hits with artists including David Benoit, Marc Antoine and Jeff Golub.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, GRAMMY® Award winner Norman Brown first picked up a guitar at the age of eight. Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s mind-bending rock sounds, Brown soon discovered his father’s favorite artist, Wes Montgomery, and found his stylistic holy grail. After high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career, attending the Musicians Institute where he also taught for a time. While playing with his own group in local clubs, and drawing comparisons to George Benson, Brown was discovered and signed to the MoJazz label, a division of Motown. He delivered his 1992 debut, Just Between Us, and followed with the gold-certified After The Storm and 1996’s Better Days Ahead.
With critical acclaim and sales behind him, the talented musician made the leap to Warner Bros. and released Celebration, which first teamed him with producer Paul Brown. The 2003 followup, Just Chillin’, earned Brown much-deserved recognition with a GRAMMY® Award in the best pop instrumental category. That project was followed by his 2005 release West Coast Coolin’, where Brown tested out his skills as a vocalist, a move that was welcomed by the urban AC radio market. In addition, his 2005 compilation The Very Best Of Norman Brown was one of the best-selling smooth jazz albums of that year.
Brown made the leap to the Peak Records label, a division of Concord Music Group, in 2007 for his smash CD Stay With Me, which yielded the R&B vocal hit “Stay With Me” and the smooth instrumental favorites “Let’s Take A Ride” and “Pop’s Cool Groove.” The guitarist kept the good vibes going on his long-awaited June 2010 release, Sending My Love.
In addition to success as a musician and producer, Brown launched a successful career as a broadcaster. In January of 2007, he brought his engaging personality to Broadcast Architecture’s Smooth Jazz Network as an on-air personality, hosting this own weekend radio show.