The Pace Report

Season 2010 Episode 10.19.10

The Pace Report: "The Quiet Giant" The Onaje Allan Gumbs Interview

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The Pace Report: "The Quiet Giant" The Onaje Allan Gumbs Interview
Pianist, film composer, producer, arranger Onaje Allan Gumbs has played many roles. He backed and got his start in the business as one of the most requested piano players during the 1970's into the 80's. Playing with legends like Kenny Burrell, Woody Shaw, Betty Carter, Thad Jones, and Nat Adderley; Gumbs would become a seasoned musician and eventually band director. It was producer/drummer Norman Connors that gave him his real break as an arranger. Onaje made waves in R & B when he arranged the late Phyllis Hyman's classic "Betcha By Golly Wow." Over the years he was the musical director for her and Angela Bofill.The NAACP Image Award Nominee was nominated for the Outstanding Jazz Artist Award in 2006. He's the 2008 recipient of the "Virtuoso Award" from the Noel Pointer Foundation. Onaje's movie and television scores include director/actor Danny Glover's "Override."The St. Albans, Queens native was bit by the music bug when his older sister exposed him to jazz. From there, he bought music my Horace Silver, Henry Mancini, and all the popular music of the 1960's. One of Onaje's influences was Herbie Hancock. He developed his producing style around the ideas and musical technique Hancock was playing with Miles Davis's fusion recordings as well as his session work at CTI.Onaje's been able to walk the line between straight-ahead jazz and contemporary R & B. He's one of the most respected and revered musicians, arrangers, and producers of the last 35 years.To order any of Onaje's latest CD's or to find out about his upcoming tour dates visit him on the web at

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