Her father was a trailblazer in music, deemed “one of the most durable figures in American popular music.” Though he did not survive to see his daughter follow in his same footsteps with her own solo career, it is no denying that Nat King Cole was a great contributor to his daughter’s rise to musical success.
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1950 to singers Nat King Cole and Maria Cole, Natalie was surrounded by music from birth. At just 6 years old, she recorded “I’m Good Will, Your Christmas Spirit” with her father, and at 11, she started performing around the community. Upon her father’s death in 1965, the family relocated to Massachusetts, where she later enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, before transferring to the University of Southern California, pledging the Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She would then transfer back to the University of Massachusetts, where she later earned her bachelor’s in 1972.
Despite being the daughter of a vocal legend, Natalie Cole has managed to carve out her own successful jazz musical career, selling millions of albums worldwide. Throughout the decades, she has continued to develop as an artist, yet never straying too far from her legendary father’s legacy.WEBSITE
A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Anthony Hamilton grew up surrounded by various musical influences. With a start in his church choir, he transitioned as a teen into performing solo at various nightclubs and talent shows.
Throughout the course of his singing career, Hamilton has paved his own way to fame, having received 12 Grammy Award nominations to date. With comparisons to Bill Withers and Bobby Womack, Anthony Hamilton has established himself as one of the most soulful vocalists in Neo soul. His rich, gravely vocal tone resonates with fans all over the world.WEBSITE
Born Pat Azzara in Philadelphia in 1944, Pat was first exposed to jazz through his father. He began playing guitar when he was twelve years old and left school in tenth grade to devote himself to music. Martino became actively involved with the early rock scene in Philadelphia, alongside stars like Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, and Bobby Darin. His reputation soon spread among other jazz players, and he was recruited by bandleader Lloyd Price to play hits such as Stagger Lee on-stage with musicians like Slide Hampton and Red Holloway. Martino moved to Harlem to immerse himself in the “soul jazz” played by many. Martino has taken several breaks from his career due to illness within his family and with himself, but today, Martino lives in Philadelphia again and continues to grow as a straight-ahead/Latin jazz musician.WEBSITE
Roberson is a multitalented Neo soul vocalist, writer, and producer in the musical industry. He subsequently returned to Howard University to complete his studies in Musical Theatre. After performing in a number of musicals and plays, he landed a songwriting deal through the EMI label, and went on to collaborate with Philadelphia-based artists such as Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and most extensively, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Roberson has since been nominated for two Grammys in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category and was nominated for two songs from his 2009 album Music Fan First: “A Tale of Two” in 2010 and “Still” in the same category a year later.
Born in Harvey, Illinois, she grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Tina Turner, the Dells, and Mavis Staples. She performed in local bands and sang in her church choir at Greater Christian Unity, and later worked in classical and gospel choirs as well as in jazz ensembles at Drake University and Illinois State University, where she majored in music. Johnson counts on her own honesty and real-life experiences to produce compelling music that transcends both genres and audiences alike. She is also currently a star on TV One’s hit reality series R&B Divas.
Rahsaan grew up as a child star portraying “The Kid” role in a hit 1980s television series called Kids Incorporated. He later transitioned into the musical industry by becoming a backup vocalist for several artists. He then on ventured out to start his solo Neo soul career. Patterson eventually signed with MCA Records and released his self-titled debut album in 1997. After a hiatus from the performance spotlight, he released After Hours in August of 2005 and Wines & Spirits in September 2007. These two albums placed him near—or at—the top of the R&B underground. The sprawling Bleuphoria, issued nearly four years later, has proven to be his most eclectic and creatively ambitious album to date.
Nichole Stephens, born in Akron, Ohio, started her musical journey to the concert halls of LA and Italy when she started dancing and singing at three years old. By the time she arrived at the Akron School of Performing Arts, she regularly performed and traveled under her signature smooth jazz sound. Nichole writes and records her own music and has collaborated with a variety of other artists. Her performances and releases throughout the years are inspired by a belief that the power of music can inspire, motivate and bring positive vibes to the world. She is currently working on an inspirational compilation and donates to foundations focused on helping caregivers of autistic family members.WEBSITE
Whether playing a smooth ballad to relax the mind or a funky groove to lift your spirits, J. Tucker and The Krewe know how to deliver.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, J. Tucker was introduced to the world of music by his father, who started him on the bass guitar.
Backed by his band, J. Tucker offers Contemporary Jazz with a touch of Soul and R&B. With their musical knowledge, passion, and experience, J. Tucker and crew continue to produce music intended for the soul, lending itself to any occasion.
The adventure of a live F.R.E.N.S. performance invariably mesmerizes audiences and brings them to their feet. High energy gives way to hushed silence when F.R.E.N.S. delivers a sultry love song with vocals that captivate and inspire. F.R.E.N.S. has proved their multi-faceted artistry appeals to diverse audiences around the world.
Whether opening for Chaka Khan, playing alongside Ramsey Lewis, cutting tracks for major television series such as Living Single, or scoring shows on the Discovery Channel, these players prove their profound inventiveness and rich experiences.
A smooth jazz keyboardist, Johnson grew up listening to a broad variety of music: his mother played classical piano and his first striking concert experience was seeing an Earth, Wind & Fire show with his father.
He first became interested in jazz when he began playing the keyboard at age 13 (his step-father won Maryland’s “Pick-3 Lottery” and used the winnings to buy Johnson’s first keyboard).
He later found himself studying both traditional and contemporary jazz musicians including Joe Sample and Thelonious Monk.
Johnson also established Marimelj Entertainment Group, Inc., a production company and music publisher that prides itself on blending a mixture of contemporary jazz, alternative, and R&B to create what the company calls “the Urban Groove.”
Sharon Rae North’s mother once told her, “No matter what you do on the outside, you’re a singer on the inside.”
The talented songstress sings jazz (straight-ahead, contemporary, smooth, etc.) and standards. Though, she often adds in some jazz versions of R&B, Rock and Top 40 hits.
Her second commercial CD, “Gee Baby” is a collection of beautiful jazz standards that dropped in late 2012 to stellar reviews. Her first commercial CD, 2007’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” continues to receive airplay in markets internationally and also received reviews.
Sharon Rae North puts on a fabulous performance and has opened for many national acts, including Joe Sample and the Jazz Crusaders, Lonnie Liston Smith and Patti LaBelle.
Lawrence Olds has been a part of the Richmond,VA music scene for 20 years. As a child, Lawrence was influenced by his father’s love of jazz and later studied the alto and tenor saxophone. He credits these early experiences with the development of his “ears.” Life events led Lawrence to pursue singing and he has never looked back.
Chris Whiteman was born in Montclair, N.J. and began playing the guitar at age 13 with influences by rock and blues legends like Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy.
Charlie Kilpatrick, on the keyboards, was introduced to music at the age of 7 and has been involved with it ever since. He has been playing professionally for over 40 years.
Bassist Carter Blough was born off the grid into an Amish family until he hitchhiked and discovered music. His recent musical endeavors include the Central Virginia Jazz Orchestra, Hotel X, and the Lawrence Olds Band.
Todd Woodson has played drums since age 5. From a musical family, he has played and recorded with many accomplished artists and toured around the world.
Hailing from Richmond, Butcher Brown is a quartet consisting of Devonne Harris on keyboard, Keith Askey on guitar, Andrew Randazzo on bass, and Corey Fonville on drums.
The group was formed in 2012 and takes careful note of the history and legacy of Jazz while throwing caution to the wind with wanton abandon.
Butcher Brown is one of the most versatile groups to come out of the underground whose performances continue to resonate with a solid Retro-Electro, Future-Funk, Groove-Heavy sound that separates itself from the mainstream.
Forte Jazz Band is an eight-piece ensemble hailing from Smithfield, VA. Formed in 1995, the group has performed extensively for events ranging from hometown backyard barbecues to television appearances and festivals.
Forte’s success as a musical force stems from the group’s passion for creating quality musical performances that invite the listener to share in Forte’s love of the art, with innovative and energetic performances as the Forte experience trademark.
Performing a wide variety of popular jazz music and original compositions, and remaining a group of true friends, the group continues to put on lively performances and recording together with all original members together for two decades.
Joye is known to set a precedent with her style of “urban inspiration” and draws upon a wealth of influences from Jazz to Gospel, Funk, and R&B.
When she was young her ear was tuned to R&B as her father loved Gospel, her grandmother adored Jazz, and her mother Country and Blues. Her early influences have since evolved into a unique blend of Inspirational/R&B.
Joye B. Moore continues stands out as an artist with music that explores and celebrates self-awakening, self-love and standing firm…lyrically, musically and personally.
Sam Reed has been singing and performing with bands in and around Richmond, Virginia since 2006, but the passion she has for music goes back to early childhood. Whether it be singing in church or singing along to her parent’s old school records, the gift of Soul was always present.
After meeting and working with Devonne Harris in 2012, Reed began recording her first solo project. Alongside Harris and a host of her favorite RVA musicians, her sound has been described as undeniably soulful and honest.
From Gospel to Hip-Hop, no two tracks sound alike, but what is consistent is Reed’s unique style and voice.”
Love Logic is a band out of Richmond, Virginia that describes their brand of music as simply, “Garage Flavored Soul”. Their signature sound spews elements of Funk, Blues, Rock and other vibes that may seem totally new to the average ear.
Led by Chuck Dawson, original bassist for local legends, Jazz Poet Society, Love Logic is a melting pot of talented local artists.
With the sultry vocals of singer Leslie Harris and the trap set chops of “Trigga” Trey Harrell, Love Logic continues to be a driving force within the Richmond music scene and beyond.
Victor Haskins is a visionary and world-class trumpet player, improviser, composer/arranger, bandleader, and educator.
He is the originator of ImproviStory, a genre of music where storytelling drives the creation of improvised music, all derived from audience suggestion and interaction. Throughout the years he has worked with the likes of Christina Perri, Clarence Penn, Dena DeRose, Drew Gress, Howard Curtis, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon, Jason Mraz and John D’earth, to name a few.
Victor holds a Jazz Studies/Performance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed the 4-year music program in only 3 years and is the first and only person to ever accomplish this feat.
Hailing from the Motor City is a musician with the remarkable gift of a beautiful sound. Being a product of the Detroit music tradition, Kenneth Gill aka KG, has become a relentless musical visionary.
His music propels traditional playing forward but also fully embraces the classic musical traditions of the past.
He has been known to swing through the musical spectrum between Jazz, Orchestral, Latin Jazz, Funk, Soul, Blues, and Gospel. Catch him in the classroom, performing at a local jazz venue, with an orchestra, chamber ensemble, a horn section, writing arrangements or recording.
Hebert A. Dabney, III, affectionately known as Debo, is one of Richmond’s most dynamic keyboardists. For over 45 years, he has performed throughout the state of Virginia at concerts, festivals, clubs, churches and other events with genre spread from Jazz to Gospel, R&B, Swing, Blues, and Children’s Classics.
Debo is also leader of his own group The Happy Band and is music director for Richmond Jazz Society’s community outreach ensembles. He performs with a variety of Jazz and R&B groups such as Glennroy & Company and currently serves as a Music Coordinator for Trinity Baptist Church in Richmond’s Northside.
Debo has carved a unique niche in the Richmond music scene and has become one of the most sought-after keyboardists in the region.