Soul Jaazz and Ty Stephens gathered their musical tribe together recently in a rocking musical send-off as they geared for gigs in Monte Carlo for the summer of 2013.
“It was the last date before their annual send-off to Monte Carlo for the summer. Ty Stephens & SoulJaazz (www.tystephensmusic.com) electrified the Metropolitan Room, Monday, July 1, with a program aptly named: “A Taste of Broadway Re-Vamped the Elegantly Funky Way.” Beside his artistry, a key ingredient to Ty’s magic is his acclaimed SoulJaazz band. Their synergy and tight grooves could only happen after years of having played and traveled together throughout Europe, Japan, Russia and other places.”
“A special soul jaazz shout-out goes to Richard Cummings, (www.imaramusic.com), my homeboy and husband of my dear childhood friend Cynthia. Richard is musical director, arranger, pianist/keyboardist, wizard and poet. Big applause and encores to the entire band: Tony Lewis, drums; Robert “RT” Taylor, guitar; Ron “Rondew” Monroe, bass; Richard Cummings, piano; and Ty Stephens, vocalist.”
To see video and read more from my post published in examiner.com click here.
Like a family reunion, family and friends gathered on a hot New York City evening to party and groove all night long.
Background on Ty Stephens from his website: Born and raised in Philadelphia, TY STEPHENS, started his journey in the entertainment business majoring in Fine Art and performing in school productions at Overbrook High School (the same school as famed alum Will Smith, but years earlier), and, studying theatre and dance with the Philadelphia Youth Theatre at Society Hill Playhouse. He went on to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, only to quit in his sophmore year to pursue dance full time, dancing with John Hines’ Dance
Theatre of Philadelphia until his move to New York City to join the Rod Rodgers Dance Co., and study at the Alvin Ailey
School, sharpening his skills as a dancer.
After 2 years on the concert dance scene, he began to audition for and perform in musical theatre, with touring shows like “SATIN SWEET” and “THE WIZ”, before landing his 2 Broadway shows: the original casts of “SOPHISTICATED LADIES” (with Gregory Hines, Phyllis Hyman and Judith Jamison) and “MARILYN, AN AMERICAN FABLE” (with Scott Bakula and Allison Reed). While on Broadway, Ty began performing in local piano bars and night clubs, finally focusing on his voice and, subsequently, his songwriting.
“It was a difficult transition for me to make in the theatre world . I had to eliminate or minimize my dance background in order to be taken seriously as a vocalist and songwriter. So, I spent a lot of time away from the Broadway scene as part of that“re-invention”. I continued to write and sing in clubs, and you could find my voice on so many demos, it wasn’t funny! I had no formal voice training, but my natural talents carried me far. I had really studied the recordings I listened to, and it showed when I went up to sing. I learned from Donny Hathaway; Stevie Wonder; Roberta Flack; Al Jarreau; Jeffrey Osborne; Chaka Khan; James Taylor; Joni Mitchell, and Nat “King” Cole, to name a few.”
Here are a few photo highlights from NYC’s Metropolitan Room, an internationally acclaimed jazz cabaret.