JAZZ IN THE ALLEY
2022 Artist Line-Up
This band is a combination of Atlanta's finest musicians that have collectively or individually played, toured, or recorded with the likes of Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, George Duke, Boney James, Peabo Bryson, Kirk Whalum, and a host of other top artists in the music industry in the last 30 years. The band individually has solo projects of their own as well, and 2 of the members, Lil John Roberts and Phil Davis are Grammy Award Winners. The Senators will be releasing their debut album soon, so be on the look out!
An accomplished and seasoned artist that performs with energy like no other. Tony has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the legendary Jacksons, The O'Jays, Ashford & Simpson, and many more over the years. He has been a featured performer on various national television shows like the Wendy Williams Show, The American Idol, and Atlanta Housewives.
Saxophonist Dexter Tolson
Born in Baltimore, Maryland Dexter Tolson plays the soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone with a sound of rhythmic emotions. He is a self-taught saxophone player influenced by Grover Washington, Jr. and David Sanborn. After serving in the army, Dexter relocated to Atlanta, GA and formed the jazz band Dexter Tolson & Friends. He is joined by keyboard wiz Tony Carter, beat master Bobby Henderson on drums, and bass expressionist Roland Beard. Dexter Tolson & Friends thrives on performing original music that is a fusion of funk and jazz. Their music resonates with the likes of Grove Washington Jr., Gerald Albright, and Kirk Whalum. Dexter Tolson performs regularly at The Calabar & Grill in Stone Mountain, GA.
A violin and acoustic guitar duo, a fusion of classical Beethoven and urban grooves, instrumental music for the future. Unknown Lyric is a musical force unlike any other. With Jeremiah Turner on acoustic guitar and Kevin Grayson on violin, their sound mimics nothing you have heard before. Founded in the year 2009, Unknown Lyric has been leaving their musical stamp on stages all over the world. They won the acclaimed Amateur Night at the world renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York in 2011. One of their biggest accomplishments was playing for media mogul Oprah Winfrey for the cast luncheon of her HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to likes of which was received with rave reviews. Unknown Lyric has released 4 projects with a new album currently in the works.
Artist and Composer, Michael Cruse is a musically captivating talent having captured audiences all around the world. Cruse, a Lexington, Kentucky native, is known for his unique take on the musical stylings of the incomparable Louis Armstrong. Michael has performed and studied with jazz greats such as Roy Hargrove, Les McCann, JD Allen, Terence Blanchard, and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. Michael has also performed in several groups for Bootsy Collins, KeKe Wyatt, Keisha Cole, Mike Phillips, Chantae Cann, Damian Sneed, Marc Broussard, and Clyde Brown (Drifters). Michael was also a part of the filming of “Miles Ahead” and portrayed NYC-based trumpeter and recording artist, Ernie Royal, starring Don Cheadle as Miles Davis (r. April 2016), as well as filming for HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” (released 2020). Michael is currently serving as an Artist Affiliate and Brass Instructor in the Jazz Studies Department at Emory
University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael performs locally in Atlanta, Georgia, and tours across the nation at various concert halls, jazz festivals, and jazz clubs.
Cleveland P. Jones
A distinguished gentleman, Cleveland P. Jones is a singer/songwriter and native of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and Berklee College of Music where he prepared diligently for the stages of the world. He has toured internationally, collaborated with notable artists and opened for the soul legend Chaka Khan. Recently featured on Arrested Development's newest song "VIBE" from their debut album For The FKN Love, you can hear Cleveland's sultry vocals giving the song its jazzy groove vibe. Past winner of Soultracks.com New Artist of the Year, Cleveland has released two albums and is currently composing new music to spread love and healing one song at a time.
The Funkyard Experiment aka FunkyardX, emerged in 2013, founded by Steve Johnson. Creatively inspired by the listed pioneers of funk and rock, Johnson added a twist of gospel, jazz and fusion. FunkyardX sought to create its own unique version of funk, soul, rock and pop. The band's musical performances are
soul laced and loaded with head nodding funky rhythms powered with massive energy drawn from rock influences. This combination has dazzled every audience that has witnessed their musical wizardry. The FunkyardX is made up of nine musicians and they are based in Cleveland Ohio, the home of Bone, Thugs & Harmony, the legendary O'Jays, Levert, Avant, and the Rude Boys. In the band's short time together, they have accumulated an ever growing fan base and have graced the stage with all time greats such as Angie Stone, Boney James and Gerald Albright. FunkyardX released its first single in the spring of 2021. The band is continuing to expand its fan base, gracing numerous new stages with its undeniable one in a million talent!