Guymon Ensley GEQ Jazz

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Making Music With My Little Brother

 

It's pretty cool to share something that you and your brother have shared as little people. My little brother Kermit played clarinet through high school. But at the age of six, Mother started him with piano lessons. Those really paid off because early in his career he performed with numerous R&B bands, including a band with Grammy Award winner Anita Baker (before she started with Chapter Eight).  He has also served as church organist in several Music Ministries throughout the years.  

Kermit and I worked together as kids in a trumpet solo act, with me on trumpet and him on piano. Our Mother booked us frequently at church events and community functions, performing Baroque pieces such as Fur Elise, by Beethoven. More recently in 2006, we recorded tracks together during the recording of my second release "Meet Guymon Ensley" at the noted Harmony Park Studio in Detroit Michigan.

Now, my little brother and I are together again in the studio, recording for my upcoming release "This Comes With It." The picture above of is him between takes, when we decided to just have some fun during the recording of "Brother Two Brother 3" which I wrote for him and me. I am the second (two) of three brothers and he's the third (3). We had a great time doing the recording, as he laid down a funky clavinet track and then a really "nasty" piano track that really rocks the tune. I knew that he liked a kicked up, "low down" sort of groove. At the same session was my good friend and associate producer, guitarist/bassist Dwayne Collins who matched Kermit's style on the rhythm guitar.

A talented bass player, Kamau Inaede, put down a soulfully filled track for the bottom on which everything else is being built. The hard hittin' Hoggie Horns, comprised of saxophonist Ben Pruitt, trombonist Richard McCall, saxophonist Fred Bergan and myself, round out the groove with some of what I call  "squeeze play." 

You'll get a chance to add the"BROTHER Two BROTHER 3" MP3 to your play list as a single before the CD release in a few weeks. I'll let you know when the cut is ready, so STAY TUNED!!!

GEQ .  .  . still swingin' and groovin' hard as ever!!!!! 

2011 was a time to Re-tool and Re-direct

 

It's been almost ten years since I started my band GEQ. There were several personnel changes during this span and I am happy to have worked with some of the finest musicians in Michigan. GEQ has performed on cruise ships touring the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands, and has performed at some of the most prestigious venues and jazz festivals in Michigan. Our first CD, "Here Put This On" was released in 2003 and the EP, "Meet Guymon Ensley" in 2006. We were proud to receive nominations from the 2006 Detroit Music Awards for "Outstanding Jazz Group/Artist" and "Best Jazz Composer." So far it's been a BLAST!

 2011 was a time to re-tool, shift gears and re-direct. It was the time that I used to focus on my musicianship and to discover the many facets of this diamond that shine the brightest, and to polish those facets to make them shine even brighter. I've surrounded myself with talented, like minded musicians and people who have become a part of GEQ Jazz's expansion. You can expect usto continue to "Swing & Groove," bringing you the best in jazz.

Throughout 2011, I have spent many days and nights in the studio writing and recording material that will become part of my new project entitled "This Comes With It." It is a contemporary jazz collection of my compositions that the band has a chance to stamp that GEQ swing onto, and to stir it up with a little R&B and fusion. I plan to release several singles from the project in the coming months. I'll notify you each time the singles are available for downloading from the GEQ Jazz web site.

I want to thank you for your continued support. I love what I do and I've waited quite a long time to have this opportunity to do it. I'll keep you posted on the release dates and upcoming listening events as well as the CD's progress and scheduled appearances, so STAY TUNED!!! 

Guymon Ensley ~ GEQ Jazz - Doing It In The Studio

 

Those GEQ Jazz artists are spending a lot of time in the studio these days, working on the next product from the GEQ Jazz camp. The CD that's scheduled for release later this year will have more of an adult contemporary jazz flavor. "Writing for this album is a bit different than writing for my jazz quintet, 'GEQ'  .  .  . it takes me back to some of my R&B experiences that I've missed." Stay tuned for more updates on how the project is going.

The "Getjazzed Trio" has stayed fairly busy, bringing its unique sounds of classic jazz arrangements to functions sponsored by such organizations  as  AARP, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Detroit Medical Center.

"GEQ" has yet to schedule any public appearances due to the ongoing recording project, but look for the performance schedule coming soon  .  .  .  still swinging with  the best in classic jazz and  bebop, and those hot originals.  

Visit the GEQ Jazz site for more news, updates and clips of the new tracks. Stop at the MUSIC page to listen to selected tracks. Other CDs and tracks, and all new GEQ Jazz merchandise are always available on the STORE Page  CDs and all tracks are also available on ITunes, Rhapsady, Amazon, Napster and CD Baby.

Thank you Mr. Schultz

 

I think all of us can recall experiences we’ve had in grade school as children that we remember as if it were yesterday.  One of my favorites was the start of my study of instrumental music.  I wrote briefly, of that experience in the liner notes of my first CD that I released in 2003.  The notes mentioned two persons, one of whom was Mr. Raymond C. Schultz, my first band teacher.  Last week, I was contacted by a high school friend whom I renewed a friendship with through facebook recently.  Jerry, who is now a music teacher in Kansas, informed me that Mr. Schultz had passed away.  Mr. Schultz was everyone’s favorite teacher, partly because band was a class many of us looked forward to starting when we were in the fourth grade.  Many of us were influenced by upper classmen that were already playing their instruments, and subsequently, we developed a passion for music.  Mr. Schultz seemed to make it easy.  I remember him as being very soft spoken and patient.  I remember that my Mother spoke with him frequently because he wanted to accelerate my studies from the fourth grade through the seventh grade and she kept tabs on making sure that it was the right thing to do. 

 

I remember on three occasions Mr. Schultz performing at our church. He played a solo each time on his clarinet with a piano accompaniment.  One of those times was really a treat.  I don’t recall how it developed, but several of us (his students) gathered in my Mother’s basement and rehearsed for a Christmas or Easter event, to be held at our church.  At the time of the event, Mr. Schultz was on the program, and he directed the ensemble.  It was a coincidence, and an event that I’ll never forget.

 

Through Jerry, I was able to locate Mr. Schultz after all these years.  I sent him a CD baring the liner notes where I briefly described him, and a note of my own.  He wrote me back! He said that he remembered me and my little brother Kermit (who played clarinet also).  He also said that he remembered my mother and that they talked frequently.  I’m happy that I had a chance to communicate with Mr. Schultz.  He was just one of those special teachers that you just don’t forget.  Thank you Mr. Schultz.

It Took Reading A Jazz Chart

 

Grade school and junior high band classes were a breeze. They were something I looked forward to because I excelled with instrumental music studies, mainly because I had a serious passion for playing the trumpet, like someone I greatly admired, Marvin Turner "Poncho."  He was two years ahead of me and was the most talented person I knew. He played the trumpet beautifully and I wanted to be just like him.

When my teachers advanced me to the high school band while I was still in grade school, I hit a brick wall when it came to reading the music. I found out that my ability to read music was well below what it should have been. As a result, I was determined to strengthen my weakness in this area.

Entering Western Michigan University as an applied music major after graduating from River Rouge High School proved to be even more difficult. I struggled in my private lessons as well as other performance classes like the symphonic orchestra and wind ensemble. Towards the end of my first semester at Western, I got permission to sit in with the University's Jazz Lab Band. It wasn't until then that the light came on when it came to reading notes, rests and music forms. Reading the jazz rhythms and patterns made everything fall in place and make sense. Reading  jazz charts helped me to realize that there were more variations of rhythms and syncopation in the compositions. The challenging rhythms and syncopation came a lot and often.  But, I think the key to improvement was just plain old repetition.

Maybe jazz in some way has had a notable influence on your overall musicianship. Please share your comments and put it out there! 

There's More To Come

 

Till September 23, www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com will continue to display a great layout and description of my single release of "Where Am I Going With You," the first reveal of what's to come next summer in the form of a collection of my original songs on a CD already entitled "This Comes With It."

 

If you haven't taken a 10 second  sneak peek at what "Where Am I Going With You" sounds like,  go ahead and hear the whole thing on my Sonic Bids EPK AUDIO PAGE: www.sonicbids.com/geqjazz.

 

Download it for your MP3 player on CD Baby on this link.

Guymon Ensley: Where Am I Going With You

 

It's A First For Me

 

Well, yeah . . . firsts are generally an apprehensive time for me. I do remember my first day of school, my first day of high school and a bunch of firsts thereafter. More recently, I remember like is was yesterday, my first day on stage as bandleader of my quintet, February. 13,  2002. Its was the Mars Music Company performance stage in Southfield Michigan (one of three gigs that was a warm up for "GEQ's" debut scheduled for March 22, 2002 at the renowned Bakers Keyboard Lounge in Detroit Michigan). As a bandleader, I felt that I was going to be compared to noted trumpet players like Rayse Biggs and Dwight Adams and of course Marcus Belgrave.  I knew that I couldn't compare as a trumpeter, but I was surrounded by great musicians in my band. So as a band, I knew we would flourish. 

Another first has perched right in front of me, that is,  recording the vocal lead for the first time on my new single "Where Am I Going With You." It surely brought on some apprehension. The tune is a sneak peek to my CD that I plan to release in July of next year.  The CD will be entitled "This Comes With It."  Standby for more on that!  But the vocal . . . yep, I'm anxious to know what you think.    

DOWNLOAD IT NOW ON CD BABY!

Guymon Ensley: Where Am I Going With You

"Where Am I Going With You" is currently being featured on: www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com

coming soon . . . TrumpetHead 

Influences Your Favorite Artists Have On Me

 

The tempting Temptations in the 1960s, Kool and the Gang, Minnie Ripperton, Jimi Hendricks and Sly Stone in  the early 1970s, Tower of Power, Lou Rawls, Chicago and Earth Wind & Fire in the mid seventies.

 


More recently, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, more of EWF, Return To Forever, Gino Vanelli and even more EWF.  These artists and plenty more of them were on each of my turn tables, home and car 8 track tape players and my home & car cassette players. And even more recently, contemporary gospel artists; Israel, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond and Donald Lawrence are on my disc players most frequently. However, from the start, those times were laced with classic jazz artists like Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock and the (before) Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, just to name a few. They are all my favorites that I listen to over and over again. But towards the beginning of them all were baroque period artists/composers like Franz Joseph Haydn, George Phillip Telemann and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi that had a lot of my attention.  But I’m talking about a least three genres of music!

 

 

The types to music that each of the aforementioned artist wrote and/or performed influences my writing.  Soul, R&B, smooth jazz, adult contemporary jazz, classic jazz, music of the classic period . . . but through it all, my attraction to classic jazz by the legends was/is right there at the top.  Because classic jazz bares a major component involving improvisation, it for the most part, kept me from really diving into performing or writing it because improvisation ijust isn’t one of my strengths. However, the musicians in my band, GEQ (past and present), are some of the best artists of improvisation in the business. I have a tendency to write for them, a style of song that any of them can just “go off” on. 

 

 

Writing drum cadences in high school was the start, then jingles. Most of my work stayed in the manuscript books that are probably still in boxes in my garage right now. It wasn't until 1976, when I formed a big band out of city of Detroit employees, when I actually tried out one of my first feats with an arrangement of the swinging medley of the Temptations': "Beauty's Only Skin Deep," "You're My Everything" and "Cloud Nine." I’m going to bring that one back out. .  It was actually a mistake; when my drummer started swinging when he was suppose to be playing a funk thing, it worked out perfectly!

 

 

Fast forward to now. My upcoming single “Where Am I Going With You” is an adult contemporary piece, the first in a while and I think it will surprise you.  It’ll be coming to you next week, August 23. See the feature on www.thejazznetworkworldwide.com

 

 

The GEQ Jazz STORE is up and stocked with both CDs.  You can download either of the CDs or any of the tracks separately.  The first CD, HERE PUT THIS ON was re-released with two of my hot original bonus tracks; "DING" . . . a sassy blues vocal  and "Oh Yeah"  . . .  a smokin' Latin style tune.  We've been performing both tunes for a while and at your request; I recorded them for the re-release.  "She's On Her Way," from the CD MEET GUYMON ENSLEY has been a popular contemporary jazz cut here in the Midwest. So don't forget to check it out too. 

 

 

I've made the "GEQ Jazz Caps" available to everybody! Pick yours up now at the "STORE" link below.   

 http://www.geqjazz.com/products.html

  

coming soon . . . TrumpetHead

 

 

Where has Guymon Ensley and GEQ been?

 

Where has Guymon Ensley and GEQ been? Well. . . we’re still here in the (Metro) Detroit Michigan area where we've always been, "bringing it" in that GEQ Jazz style.  Yeah, I know what you mean. You just haven't heard from us in a while. Here's what's been happening. We completed a tour in the Caribbean last August. The plan(s) to start writing and recording a new CD began and is ongoing. Its surely in the works, but the news is, I'm releasing a new single that's coming your way next month. But there's a twist . . .  the track is more of a contemporary piece of work that I hope you'll like.



I've selected some of the best musicians in the business to record the material. This project will be a collaboration of my ideas and thoughts and their interpretation and you could best believe that I listen to what they suggest when they see the charts or hear the sketches of the tunes. They are the best at what they do and I highly respect them for it and I not only feel privileged to be working them, I feel honored for them to want to be associated with my project(s). Look for these great men and women on many of my works to come. Who are they? . . . well stay tuned for more exciting news and updates.

 

The GEQ Jazz STORE is up and stocked with both CDs.  You can download either of the CDs or any of the tracks separately.  The first CD, HERE PUT THIS ON  was re-released with two of my hot original bonus tracks; "DING" . . . a sassy blues vocal  and "Oh Yeah"  . . .  a smokin' latin syle tune.  We've been performing both tunes for a while and at your request, I recorded them for the re-release.  "She's On Her Way," from the CD MEET GUYMON ENSLEY has been a popular contemporary jazz cut here in the midwest. So don't forget to check it out too. 

 

I've made the "GEQ Jazz Caps" available to everybody! Pick yours up now at the "STORE" link below.   

 http://www.geqjazz.com/products.html


... comimg soon ... T R U M P E T H E A D

 

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