Alan Hewitt – Keyboards
Alan has made his living painting musical tapestries about the lives of others. Hewitt began his career performing in the club scene but quickly graduated to the production room, where he had the honor of working as co-producer alongside Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire (EWF) for over half a decade with EWF’s Greatest Hits album going platinum in 2000. However, it was co-writing and piano/B-3 contributions on the platinum record Cherry Pie with Warrant that would solidify Hewitt as a monster musical talent capable of crossing genres. Alan is currently the keyboardist for legendary rock band The Moody Blues touring with them world wide since 2010.
Hewitt’s list of record production credits as both a producer and recording artist spans across the various major labels and genres with over 12 million records sold. A first call composer for a long list of major film and television productions, Hewitt’s credits include National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Survivor, MTV, Access Hollywood, Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales and is a favored composer for the Oprah Winfrey Show (including Oprah’s Big Give). The list of accolades from the industry includes “The Golden Planet Award” Best Score at New York International Film Fest and the “ESPY Award for Excellence.”
As a solo artist, the uniqueness of the Hewitt signature sound lies in his ability to draw from the diverse worlds of contemporary jazz, fusion, pop and rock, while simultaneously bridging the gap between instrumental music and the urban scene with intoxicating stage performances that are a combination of energyand inspiration. It was his 2004 release, Noche de Pasion, that marked his emergence on the instrumental scene, which was followed by his critically acclaimed 2006 release Metropolis. The Baltimore Times hailed, “Metropolis is the album to put in your CD player (then turn up the volume).”
His newest CD, Alan Hewitt & One Nation “Evolution” is a fusion of rock, jazz & prog with a return back to Alan’s roots where he was inspired by Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report. Alan is featured on piano and keyboards butHe is joined by JV Collier (Bruce Hornsby Noisemakers) Grammy winner, Sonny Emory (Steely Dan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stanley Clark) Jamie Glaser (Anderson/Ponty Band, Chick Corea’s Electrik Band, Lenny White Band) guitarist Duffy King also special guests Orianthi (Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper) and #1 YouTube Artist of the Year Alex Boye .
A native Atlantan who received his first drum set at the age of four. After graduating from Georgia State University with a Bachelor in Jazz Performance, Sonny began his transition to becoming a professional drummer playing with Joe Sample and the Crusaders. With over 20 years of live performance and studio work behind him, Sonny maintains a busy schedule in the music industry and is highly regarded in the business.
Though probably best known for his groundbreaking drumming with Earth, Wind, and Fire; Sonny has performed with a virtual “who’s who” in pop and jazz music including Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, Paula Abdul, Jean-Luc Ponty, and BozScaggs. He is also known for innovative visual effects during live performances that include exciting stick-twirling and back-sticking techniques. As a World Renowned Drummer and Grammy Award Winner, Sonny is considered to be one of the greatest drummers to have come along in a while. His proficiency and style have awarded him the opportunity to record on platinum status albums such as the B52s’ Cosmic Thing and Steely Dan’s Grammy award winning Two Against Nature.
Sonny is equally in demand for studio work as for what’s delivered during live performances. This former member of the legendary group Earth, Wind, and Fire held down the drum seat for thirteen years. Also, Sonny has additional credits that include Bruce Hornsby, Jennifer Lopez, Lee Ritenour, and Steely Dan to name a few. Currently, he is gigging with Bette Midler and Bruce Hornsby while working on his own solo album. Recently, Sonny was invited to perform as the headliner for opening night of the 28th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. Now, he leads his own ultra funky progressive aggregation, State of the Art formerly known as Hypnofunk.
With a wealth of teaching experience, Sonny is committed to balancing academics and entertainment. He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Applied Percussion at Georgia State University. Additionally, Sonny teaches private lessons to assist students in developing their craft and setting long-term goals in order to be successful in their chosen musical endeavors.
Sonny has performed countless clinics and master classes in academic settings, drum stores, and during national music conferences, both independently and for his endorsers YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals. He recently performed a clinic in Melbourne, Australia and is currently finalizing plans for the beginning phase of Emory Performing Arts Center through a partnership with Deerwood Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sonny co-wrote the tune “Crusin”, which can be heard on the score to Spike Lee’s 1998 film “Get on the Bus”. Also, he worked on the “Lethal Weapon II” soundtrack with Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. In 1996, Sonny released “Hypnofunk”, a solo project produced by Earth, Wind and Fire’s founder, Maurice White. He is currently putting the finishing touches to his fourth solo project entitled “Love’s Pure Light” which is schedule for release June 2005.
Sonny is endorsed by YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals and Drumsticks, Shure Microphones, Meyers Sound Systems, Toca Percussion, and LP Percussions.
JV Collier -Bass
is one of the most sought-after bass players of his generation. As a student of legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson, JV learned from the best. JV was only 16 when Jamerson moved with Motown Records to Los Angeles, and the void left by James’ departure gave JV the chance to record with some of the hottest R&B artists of the day including The Temptations, Earl Klugh, Freda Payne, Ron Banks and The Dramatics, Enchantment, The Floaters, and more. Soon after, The Emotions offered JV the chance to go on tour, which led to New York recording sessions with Frankie Valli, The Brecker Brothers and Kelly Patterson. Calls from L.A. led to work with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Ben E. King, Tyrone Davis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Alton McClain and Destiny. In the early 80’s, JV met a struggling Detroit songwriter named Don Was.
Their collaboration led to JV’s laying the foundation for two albums for (and tours with) Was Not Was. In 1983, JV joined Gladys Knight & The Pips and was with them for 10 years. JV LAO worked with The 5th Dimension, The Pointer Sisters, Marilyn McCoo and Billly Davis, Jr., and Norman Connors. For the past 12 years, JV has provided the bass groove for Bruce Hornsby, and has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, George Duke, Kirk Whalum, The Band, Branford Marsalis, and others. JV has also played bass duets with Victor Wooten and Christian McBride.
In the 1970’s, guitar was popular, but most of the great music schools only recognized guitar as a classical instrument, or not at all. Soon I heard about Berklee College Of Music in Boston. Before I knew it, I was in Boston and four years later, in 1977, I graduated with a composition Bachelors Degree.
It was a magical time there. Some of my classmates were Vinnie Colaiuta (drummer now with Jeff Beck and Sting; has played on about a million records), J.R. Robinson (who is famous now for drums with Michael Jackson and Quincy), Mike Stern (the great guitarist), Al Dimeola, Bill Frizell, Emily Remler, Tim Landers, Richard Gibbs, and so many more that I can’t believe it myself. All of these folks remain my friends and we all were the lucky ones that took the magic of Berklee and created careers.
Steve Smith (the incredible drummer for Journey, and Vital Information) and I met at a gig, a bar mitzvah in Boston. We hit it off immediately; he was fun, loved to play loud, and liked that I was a bit over the edge. When he got the gig with Jean Luc Ponty and Allen Holdsworth left the band, he quickly got me an audition. Thanks to Steve, my professional career was started. To this day, playing with Jean Luc Ponty is my favorite gig. He is the most talented, wonderful, sensitive player and person I know. I played with him at a reunion concert in 1998 and he seemed God like to me. Still does. He is so blessed and I never will be able to return what he gave me: a career, a friendship, a place in an innovative band. I feel that Jean Luc Ponty was the one that found who I was as a musician. He worked with me on my sound. He taught me about the road. He gave me confidence.
I recall one day in Europe. I was freaking out. Larry Coryell, Al Dimeola, Stanley Jordon, and John McLaughlin all were to play before us at a festival. I walked into Jean Luc’s room and said, “I can’t do it. I can’t play. These are my heroes; they are where I got my licks.” Jean Luc laughed and asked if I would sit down. I though for sure he was gonna fire me. He said, “Jamie, who is the guitarist in my band?” I looked at him and said, “Huh?” He asked again. I said, “Well, . . . me.” Then he looked at me like a brother, and said, “Anyone of those guys could be in this band. In fact Coryell wanted the job. You are here because you are the best for this job. And I love your playing.” I was so blown away; he wasn’t a guy who complimented like that, although he let you know when he was happy. I didn’t know what to say, but I did know that I had to play my ass off for him. And that night the crowd went nuts when I played my extended solo in “Enigmatic Ocean.”
There are many other stories like this one, but you get the idea. After a couple years with Jean-Luc, he felt that his band was getting too rock and roll and he let Steve Smith, myself and Alan Zavod go. Shortly after that, I joined with Lenny White. He was the drummer with Return To Forever, and known as one of the best drummers ever. This band was incredible. Donald Blackman, kbds, and Nick Moroch on guitar, and my hero, Marcus Miller. Marcus and I got very tight and I showed him guitar licks and he taught me how to slap on the bass, and “to not play, like a white boy.” Although I had been interested in R and B and funk, these guys made sure I knew about the groove. Lenny made me watch the hi hat. Donald worked with me and lovingly told me that I was playing like a honky. He was the funkmeister for sure.
We did an album in L.A. and rented a great house in the hills. Chaka Khan lived with us and did the recording. Larry Dunn from Earth Wind and Fire produced. Larry let me watch him for weeks, and I must say my producer chops are largely what I learned from him. During the weeks we stayed there, I wrote a tune “Struttin” in thanks to Marcus for his great inspiration. Well it ended up on the record and was played extensively around the world. This was the first time that a bandleader that I had been with let the guys write.
While I was doing a concert in L.A. with Lenny at the Roxy, Jean Luc walked through the doors. I was so pleased to see him. He asked if I would have lunch with him and I was thrilled. He told me that he wanted to make a change and that he had a world tour and a live album, and he would double my old salary if I’d come back. Holy S… I said, “YES!!!!” So we stayed together for many more years and although it was hard to leave Lenny, I made the right decision. I moved to L.A. and noticed that I was getting studio work for jazzy parts. I loved rock and played it a lot, but the industry didn’t know that. I had to do something, and quickly. I called my friend Hernando Cartwright who had rejected every pop song I wrote, but saw me every two weeks anyway, and said can you please find me a rock band that I could shine in. A week later I was in the studio with Bryan Adams. He was very nice, but I was a little shocked at first. He said, “Man, I don’t wanna hear any jazz licks. Go out there, turn up, and play
Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter/Composer/Producer SAG/AFM Energetic, kinetic grooves, driving rhythms, searing, blistering leads, finesse and feel are words that have been used to describe Duffy’s style of guitar playing. Duffy started playing the guitar at age 11, and began playing professionally at 18, basically having almost a lifetime of professional experience. Duffy has spent a large part of his life living in the Detroit area, amongst it’s great musical heritage. He also lived in South Florida, New York City, while giging & touring extensively throughout the U.S. and all four corners of the world. Along with constant performing, Duffy has done numerous studio sessions, including nationally televised ads as well as major label releases that have been nominated for Grammy Awards and Billboard Magazine awards. The combination of these accomplishments, and performing with an array of world class musicians, has earned him a reputation as a top caliber guitarist. Well versed in all styles of playing, Duffy is best known for his potent Jazz/Rock and R&B/Funk chops. Duffy’s talent doesn’t stop with playing guitar. His song writing skills have won awards in Billboard Magazine’s Songwriter’s Contest, Marlboro’s National Talent Search, and received acclaim for his solo release, Living’ for the Big Time, which charted in the top 10 on many radio stations throughout the midwest region
From 2000 – 2010, Duffy has received 6 Detroit Music Awards for Outstanding Rhythm & Blues Artist and has been nominated 9 times from 1999-2010 for the Outstanding Rhythm & Blues Instrumentalist award . Duffy’s recording, “Solo Guitar Christmas”, is a collection of holiday classics uniquely arranged and performed on a single guitar. Solo Guitar Christmas received rave reviews and was nominated for a Detroit Music Awards Outstanding Jazz Recording.
Duffy knocked ’em dead at each performance on a worldwide clinic/promotional tour for the Gibson Guitar Corporation. As a Clinician, he is able to combine musicality, humor, fun and information to create an entertaining and productive clinic/performance that transcends language barriers. Other companies that Duffy has performed clinics for include, Yamaha Guitars and Amplifiers, Egnater Amplification
Duffy laid the guitar tracks on the recording, Reim3 , by Gold and Platinum selling international Polygram artist, Matthias Reim, who also is a two-time recipient of World Music Awards. Another Polygram release Duffy played on was the Grammy Nominated recording, “Mean What You Say”, by Witness.
2010 had Duffy laying tracks for Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee’s side project, Method’s Of Mayhem’s worldwide release, “A Public Disservice”.
Additional adventures in Duffy’s diverse musical career include, composing music and audio sweetening for independent filmmaker, Jennifer Machiorlatti’s short film, The Maiden’s Mirror. National Chevrolet Commercials of which Duffy was Vocalist, Guitarist, Producer and Arranger.Featured performer on 2006 CD release with Detroit drummer extrodinare’, Charles Stuart, “Charles Stuart Trio Live”. All guitars on the widely popular 2008-2011 Ford F150 & 250 National Ad campaign, featuring comedian/actor Denis Leary on voice over.