Vocalist Ernie Andrews is a legendary jazz artist who’s career spans over 70 years. Andrews began singing in a church choir as a youth, and made his first recordings while still in high school. Ernie was influenced by vocalists Billy Eckstine, and Al Hibbler, and shares a style with Joe Williams, but Ernie’s sound is truly original and all his’ own. Ernie performed during the post WWII Central Avenue music scene in LA among the many jazz giants of the 1940’s & 1950’s. Andrews has performed or recorded with the Harry James Orchestra, the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut band for over 25 years, Kenny Burrell, Snooky Young, the Gene Harris-Philip Morris All Star Super Band, Kansas City’s Jay McShann and the Paris All Stars, the Harper Brothers Band, and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. In the documentary film “Blues for Central Avenue”, Ernie narrates and walks you through this historic part of LA’s early jazz and blues music scene. Ernie has recorded 22 singles between 1945 and 1965, has recorded 15 albums as a leader, and has appeared on over 125 recordings in his career. Ernie’s songbook is the music of Ellington & Basie, and his powerful, soulful sound flows when it comes to jazz, rhythm, blues, and art. Ernie feels the music.
Saxophonist Rickey Woodard spent 7 years with the Ray Charles Band, has played and recorded with Frank Capp’s Juggernaut Band, the Jeannie & Jimmy Cheathams Sweet Baby Blues Band, and is a current member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Rickey has appeared on 40 jazz recordings, 12 as a leader/co-leader. Woodard plays with great power, soul, and command of his instrument. Rickey plays all styles of music with great finesse, ease, and precision, a true saxophone master.
Pianist Lanny Hartley is a conductor, composer, and studied at Indiana University. He is an accomplished musician who has played with Jon Hendricks, Lou Rawls, Linda Hopkins, Ernestine Anderson, Thelma Houston, the Fifth Dimension, Joe Tex, Syreeta Wright, Al Wilson, and David Clayton-Thomas. Lanny has directed the live productions “Ain’t Misbehavin”, “Tracks”, “Late Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz”, “The Life of Dinah Washington”, and “The Della Reese Tour”. Hartley has appeared in the TV movie “Sinatra”, the motion picture “Harlem Nights”, and the ABC TV series “Soul Man”.
Bassist Richard Simon is an educator, producer, clinician, and conductor who has performed with over 75 different artists. Richard has written and performed the jazz production entitled “Poor Richards All Man Act Plus One”. Simon has served as the program director of “Jazz America” in LA, co-founded by the great Buddy Collette. This after school jazz instruction program teaches middle and high school students in the Hollywood area about the music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, and Mary Lou Williams. Richard was mentored by the great bassist Red Calendar, and woodwinds master Buddy Collette.
Jazz drummer and actor Fritz Wise has played and recorded with Johnny Hammond, Nate Morgan, Horace Tapscott, Gary Bias, Azar Lawrence, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Burrell, Harold Land, The Temptations, and Lou Donaldson. Fritz has appeared on 15 recordings, and plays with a powerful and swinging style on anything from funk to jazz, and everything in between. Wise has been performing and recording for over 40 years, and comments that he is truly married to the music for life.