Trevor Allen, although born in London, England moved to New York City when he was 5 years old and graduated with a Bachelor's in Music at the City College of New York (CUNY). As he says about being a bass player, “[we] never really chose the bass…the bass chose us.”
Growing up in NYC, Allen’s love for music was fostered by his church and community, and that love never left him throughout all his endeavors. He was a bassist for the historic TV show "Showtime In Harlem" as well as the Apollo Theatre talent show. He’s performed and/or recorded with Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Wayne Henderson, Lakecia Benjamin, Ronnie Laws, Rahsaan Patterson, Dwele, Mark Adams, Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle, Miki Howard, Elisabeth Withers, Glenn Jones and Alyson Williams. And toured with singers Freddie Jackson, Peabo Bryson, Norman Connors and GQ.
Allen freelances as a musician in the studio, for performances and on tour. Allen also gives back to the community by teaching music in NYC and the Greater New York Area, for the last several years.
Don Braden has an impressive resume that includes working with jazz masters such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Roy Haynes, and many others. Through his career he developed a thorough understanding of all aspects of jazz, that enabled him to become a dedicated and passionate educator.
He notably held the appointed role for three years as Interim Conductor of the Harvard Monday Jazz Band, and currently runs the Harvard Jazz Combo Initiative. When he hasn’t been at Harvard or in the studio helping to create Song For Our People, Braden has conducted a number of master classes, residencies and guest soloist appearances at some of the most reputable educational institutions all over the U.S. and Europe.
With his expertise in jazz and positive energy, Braden’s musicality is showcased in over 15 big band charts and four pieces for full symphonic orchestra with Jazz quartet. He also has four original works for full symphonic orchestra with jazz ensemble, which includes a premiere of "Vox Populi Mundi" co-composed with Dutch bassist Joris Teepe in the Netherlands in November 2006 for Queen Beatrix (Queen at the time, currently Princess).
Norman Burns, also known as Normie B, born in Brooklyn, NY but spent most of his youth in Teaneck, NJ next to Hackensack, NJ. He was heavily influenced by the music of the five Burroughs, but it’s his love for creating verses that would be an enduring passion.
Early on in his musical career he was signed to the Bon Ami MCA Universal record label and was a member of the recording group 4 Destiny. He has worked with Ben E. King Jr, Anthony Moody (aka) DMOET, Kenny Vaughan, Jessie Wagner, Kayla Harris, Reggie Griffin and Brian Jones. Currently, Normie B has multiple songs about social justice and spiritual fulfillment available through iTunes, Amazon, iHeartRadio, Spotify and YouTube.
Embodying the qualities of a proud servant to his community, has been a calling to Normie B well before his work on Song For Our People. He serves as an Ordained Deacon, at the New Hope Baptist Church of Hackensack, New Jersey. Outside of his religious calling and music career, he and his wife, Sharon Burns, have been married for 27 years and are parents to their daughter, Britney Burns.
Elsa Cornish, also known as Elsa Raven, from Pikesville, MD. Is a classically trained vocalist (Minor Classical Voice, Major Mechanical Engineering). She has been a part of the New York music scene for over 20 years, showcasing her talents as a cross genre singer, songwriter and voice over artist.
Her career as a background vocalist has taken her all over the world supporting artists such as Belinda Carlisle, Gloria Gaynor, La La Brooks of The Crystals, Phyllis Hyman, Michael Bolton, Jocelyn Brown and Roy Ayers. Cornish was a sought-after talent on many industrial productions, including shows for Merck, Schering Plough and Allergan. In addition, she was chosen to be the voice of the Baltimore MTA bus and subway lines.
Over the years, Cornish has appeared on a number of recordings, both as Elsa Raven and Elsa Cornish. She strives to continue growing as a vocalist, performer and songwriter. Currently, she is working on a jazz/blues project and more thumping house tunes….stay tuned.
Omar Edwards is a celebrated dancer, whose foot music has taken him to over 20 countries and onto countless stages. He has dazzled audiences multiple extended stints on Broadway in “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk”, The National Touring Company of Black and Blue; seven years as the “Sandman” in NBC’S Showtime at the Apollo, Live at the Hollywood Bowl with Alicia Keyes, and a command performance at the White House with Savion Glover for President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Among his many performing honors, Edwards is the proud recipient of an NAACP Image Award for his performance in “FLY”. The native New Yorker stays busy sharing his knowledge and skills at festivals, dance and school institutions throughout the tri-state area. He is the Creative Artistic Director for SCR youth ensemble at Harlem’s Street Corner Resources. He also serves as a Trustee of The Crossroads Theatre Company.
Edwards’ unique approach to tap-dancing as mode of playing and performing music can be witnessed at the legendary Cotton Club & Gin Fizz in Harlem when not in a pandemic, where he and his band Omar Edwards & Co. render performances to sold out audiences. Edwards is truly captivating with the musicality he omits with his entire body, a must see performer.
Upon graduating from NYU in 1984 after studying jazz piano, Charlie Ernst set out to prove his multifaceted musicianship. He showcased his talents with multiple credits on the 1988 release of the Nancy Wilson album, "Nancy Now!" Since then, he has continued to work with and release music with some of the biggest names in the industry as a performer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and composer.
Throughout his career he participated a wide range of performances and recordings with artists such as Chaka Khan, Grover Washington Jr., Will Downing, Marion Meadows, Marlena Shaw, Nancy Wilson, Phyllis Hyman, Idris Muhammad, and Gerry Mulligan, to name a few. He wrote for Najee, Nancy Wilson and BeBe & CeCe Winans, but his composition credits do not end there. His original scoring can be heard in the soundtrack for the movie House Party, on several Sesame Street episodes and videos, the PBS Nature series Wild TV, independent films, advertising jingles, and on both local and national Public Service Announcements,
When Ernst isn't in the studio elevating songs like Song For Our People, he is a music educator in the East Windsor Regional School District, where he fosters music appreciation to the next generation through the courses he teaches like music production.
You would be hard-pressed to identify a musician as comfortable with classical music as he is with jazz, indie rock, folk and reggae, as Clark Gayton. On scholarship he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1984. Gayton then moved to Oakland briefly before moving to New York in 1987.
Since living in New York, when not packing the house at Nublu, Clark has worked with some of the finest jazz musicians in the world, such as Levon Helm (formerly of The Band), Charles Tolliver, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, Ted Nash and Odeon, Ben Allison and Medicine Wheel, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles.
Gayton recently toured with Bruce Springsteen as part of the Seeger Sessions band; and has recorded and/or performed with Prince, Rhianna, Brazilian Girls, Steel Pulse, Wyclef Jean, Queen Latifah, Quincy Jones, Sting, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Santana, Maxwell, The Skatalites, and Bad Brains, to name a few. He is a strong advocate for musicians rights and has been a panelist for discussions about the online and independent music industry.
Percussionist Gary Fritz has carried the beat though a wide variety of musical styles and artistic flavors including but not limited to Folk, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz, World Beat, Spoken word, Big Band, Orchestra, and Gospel. His talents have been featured in dance classes, dance companies and on TV, cable, video & film soundtracks.
Fritz felt the pull to music and art from an early age being raised in a household that encouraged and fostered music appreciation. Prior to his extensive successful music career, he was considered one of the pioneers of the NYC Graffiti Movement with his graffiti crew the Ex-Vandals. Art and creativity and the need to express it, has always been at the root of Gary Fritz’s endeavors.
The undeniable truth that expressing his talents with people was a calling and thus has been touring internationally since 1991. It’s not hard to see why his talents have been in such demand when you see who some of artists and organizations he’s worked with. Along with leading his own band, 7th Heaven, Gary's performance credits include some of the industry's top talents: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Bashiri Johnson & The Victoria Secret Drummers, George Benson, The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, The Brand New Heavies, Daniel Breaker, Etienne Charles, Circular Time, Rev. James Cleveland, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Charles Earland, Roberta Flack, Corey Glover (Reverend Daddy Love & The Disciples), Onaje Allan Gumbs, Jazzmeia Horn, Ronny Jordan, Nate Lucas All Stars, Ralph MacDonald, Aziza Miller, Meli’sa Morgan, People United To Save Our Children Mass Choir, P Funk All Stars, Vernon Reid, Cheryl Pepsi Riley & Hot Chocolate, Valerie Simpson, Buddy Williams, The Winans, & the Phil Young Experience just to name a few.