CeCe Peniston was born Cecilia Veronica Peniston in Dayton, Ohio. Her storybook beginning is magical in that CeCe Peniston spent most of her formative years in Phoenix, Arizona and got her first start singing before her congregation in church. She performed in plays and musicals and participated in talent shows while learning to play the piano. The real testament of her talent was in 1987 when CeCe, still a high school student, landed a part in a local production of Bubbling Brown Sugar. From their, she would earn her diploma and continue on to the University of Phoenix to study Liberal Arts. These years would serve as a springboard for CeCe to develop her skills in writing lyrics. In 1989, CeCe was crowned Miss Black Arizona and reigned as Miss Galaxy in 1990.
In 1991, CeCe elevated as a true artist when a friend and Phoenix based record producer, Felipe “DJ Wax Dawg” Delgado, asked her to record back- up vocals for a female rapper slated to release an album on A&M Records. Soon after, Peniston showed her willingness to make her own individual mark in the business, and land her solo project commissioned by then A&M Records music executive, Manny Lehman. Peniston’s hit single known today as “Finally” was born and CeCe accomplished what all talented artists only dream of, inking a deal for her own debut album.
The 1990s, proved to be substantial for the Dayton, Ohio native. She became an international sensation and was considered to be one of the most successful dance club artists in the history of the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Charts. Peniston was successful at scoring five major number one hits within three years. Her signature Dance hit “Finally” was #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #2 on the UK Top 75. It became one of the biggest dance records in history to sell over 3 million copies worldwide.
Isaac Parham and Friends are a popular, upbeat, exciting group that performs frequently in the DMV area and beyond , for concerts, performance venues and various events. Saxophonist Isaac Parham has been on the music scene for over 30 years and has put together a top notch team of multi talented musicians. The group consists of Saxophonist Isaac Parham, Bassist Christopher Rhodes, Drummer Derrin Brown, Keyboardist Eddie Botts, Guitarist Ford Johnson and Vocalist LaNesha Alexander. They always include their audiences in their musical experiences while on stage , which have them always wanting more.
Formally the Director of Bands and the Coordinator of Music Education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. John R. Lamkin, II received his Bachelors from South Carolina State University, his Masters from Morgan University, and his Doctorate from The University of Maryland at College Park. All his academic degrees have been in Music Education.
Currently, Dr. Lamkin regularly performs with his “Favorite’s” Jazz Quintet. Enamored by the 1950s, 60s and 70s jazz quintets lead by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Miles Davis and many others, Lamkins quintet specializes in presenting a repertoire of “straight ahead” jazz standards and originals. His group serves as a platform for area musicians who yearn, as he does, to play “straight-ahead jazz.” In June of 2014, Dr. Lamkin received the “Jazz Heroes” Award from the Jazz Journalist Association for having a significant impact on jazz music in the Baltimore community.
Stout, (Denise Renee) an artist born and raised in New Haven , CT – began her musical endeavor at the age of 3, in her great grandmother’s basement church. She began playing the drums for church service, and later, began singing in the children’s choir. Her passion for performing became a constant motivating force.
She went from performing at local church concerts, musicals, and services, to touring the world as a supporting vocalist for Alicia Keys. This experience allowed her to perform with greats like Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Missy Elliott and so many more. The tour led them on a worldwide adventure across the GLOBE.
They hopped around the world, performing in the most prestigious venues to legendary shows like OPRAH, The Grammy Awards, The MTV Video Music Awards, The Billboard Music Awards, Dave Letterman Show, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, Good Morning America and the list keeps going. Her journey as a supporting vocalist continued with Electrifying Artists such as Childish Gambino and Cory Henry which fueled her solo career even more.
In 2018 she launched her solo career under the Alias “Stout”, which speaks to her stage presence–powerful, determined and solid! Since 2018, Stout released several singles and an EP which is steadily electrifying stages across the world, while transforming her listeners.
“The Melting Pot Big Band.” When I decided a few years back to work toward achieving my lifelong dream of producing a CD of big band music, I assembled a band of some of the areas finest players, all pulled from the various other local bands I have played with over the years (hence the “Melting Pot” moniker).
After months of rehearsing and several highly-satisfying and successful studio sessions, the band ended up deciding that they were simply having too much fun, and the music was too good, to just let the band dissolve once the recording sessions were completed. ‘
So here we are today to share our music-making with you in what we hope is just the beginning of many public performances. Please accept the sincere thanks of the entire band and myself for checking us out and helping us realize the band’s mission – to play challenging music as well as it can be played, to have fun doing so, and to share the results of our labors with an appreciative public. We hope you enjoy what you see and hear and we hope you will come out to hear us live.
With a voice as smooth as velvet, SAMARA JOY’s star seems to rise with each performance. Following her winning the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, she is currently recording her debut recording, which will feature Samara backed by the Pasquale Grasso Trio.
This rising star still resides in the place of her birth, the Castle Hill section of the Bronx, New York. Growing up, music was a pervasive presence, due to the inspiration of her paternal grandparents, Elder Goldwire and Ruth McLendon, who led the well-known Philadelphia-based gospel group, The Savettes. Her father toured with the renowned Gospel artist Andrae Crouch, and her home was filled with the sounds of not only her father’s songs and songwriting process, but the inspiration of many Gospel and R&B artists, including Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, George Duke, Musiq Soulchild, Kim Burrell, Commissioned, and many others.
Saxophonist and trumpeter, Clarence H. Ward III, Standing as a major influencer in the development of Baltimore’s present jazz sound, Ward’s lion heart positions him on the vanguard, reinforcing jazz music as a vital voice for these modern times.
Performing Since the age of 15, Ward in 2003/04, Ward won a competitive spot on the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) All-Star Big Band representing the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore at the Prestigious International Association for Jazz in Education Festival in Canada and New York. It was with the All-Star Big Band in 2004 that Clarence Ward III recorded with Jimmy Cobb, live at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture.
Over the years, he has performed with artists as diverse as Gladys Knight to N’Dambi Blue to Robert Glasper to Nancy Wilson to Musiq Soulchild to Benny Golson. From 2008 to 2010 Ward collaborated with R&B soul singer Ledisi, performing at Yoshi Jazz Club in Oakland and touring Japan, and performing at Billboard Live in Tokyo and Osaka. In 2015/2016 he performed with Aretha Franklin at Caesar’s Palace.
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Zane Rodulfo has been intrigued by the sound of music since an infant.
He began studying and performing music at the early age of 4 and recently completed graduate study in Jazz Studies at New York University and holds Bachelor of Music degrees in both Jazz Performance and Ethnomusicology from the Oberlin Conservatory Of Music.
Zane has opened for great musicians such as Stevie Wonder and performs at various festivals and venues where he has shared the stage with legendary Barry Harris, Wess Anderson and many others. He has performed at illustrious venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Blue Note.
In February 2020 Nelson turned all four chairs on the NBC hit show The Voice with his unique version of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Pride and Joy. He advanced all the way to the “Lives” when Covid-19 took the world for a ride. So, Nelson took a ride and began preparing for his HAZMAT ‘N HANDSHAKES TOUR 2020.
He entertained audiences from Baltimore, MD to Bluffton, S.C. to Savannah, GA. He also took the time to give back by way of offering his talent to a few organizations like Fullerton College Cadena Music and Baltimore’s Restaurant Relief Fund via virtual concerts!
Nelson’s musical style embraces several genres from his one-of-a-kind finger-picking blues to his unique mash ups of pop tunes to his soul-stirring and elevating indie-rock and folky originals – he mesmerizes his audience every time! Blake Shelton’s comment encapsulates his style perfectly: “He [Nelson] can run the gamut from Lead Belly to ZZ Top!”
His debut single, FREEDOM off his debut album, Totally Unrelated, slated to be released later in 2021! His 2021 promotional tour takes him to: Atlanta, GA, Savannah, GA, Pensacola, Fl, Talladega, AL & Nashville, TN. Then he will be back in Baltimore for the Baltimore Jazz Festival!
Benny Russell: A virtuoso tenor saxophonist Benny Russell moved to New York shortly after his college graduation, and quickly formed a jazz orchestra called the NEW YORK ASSOCIATION – a seventeen-piece ensemble that featured such noted jazz artists as trumpeters Cecil Bridgewater and Tom Harrell, saxophonist John Purcell, trombonists Steve Turre and Robin Eubanks, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, and drummer Mike Clark. Since then, he has built an impressive list of credits. Besides arranging and performing for off-Broadway shows like Beehive, he’s worked with Otis Rush, Harry Belafonte, Mino Cinelu, Craig Harris, Jimmy Owens, Junior Cook, Mor Thium and a host of others. Benny has played on many TV shows such as ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘A Different World’. In 1995 he chaired the jazz division at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, also teaching jazz history. In February 2005, Russell was commissioned to write a Jazz score for Zora Neale Hurson’s play Cold Keener which was well received at Baltimore’s Loyola College. In June 2004, Benny was hired to chair the Jazz department at the Maryland Conservatory of Music. He has produced a successful Count Basie 100th Birthday Celebration that featured the legendary Frank Foster and Grammy award winners Antonio Hart and Mark Gross. In 2008,
Russell was commissioned to write a three- movement orchestral work for the Bronx Arts Ensemble entitled The Darfur Chronicles. The work has been performed by the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra as well. He is director and founder of the Rock Spring Jazz Academy, and adjunct professor at the Harford Community College. He is a professional artist for RS Berkeley and endorses their instruments.
1 . CeCe Peniston
2. Isaac Parham & Friends
3. Melting pot Big Band
4. Clarence Ward III & Dat Feel Good
5. Zane Rodulfo Quartet