My Capital Jazz Super Cruise VII Experience… 2013

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Waiting at Delta’s ticketing desk at 3:30a… (Nov 2, 2013)

On November 2, 2013, I was picked up by a SuperShuttle van at 2:30am and given a ride to DC’s National Airport arriving at Delta’s ticketing area maybe an hour or so later (after picking up other passengers) – barely awake as the desk hadn’t even open yet. I had a 6am flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL (connecting in ATL) and the ONLY thing I wanted to do was board the plane and fall asleep. Back in July while the ManMade Tour was in full swing and momentum was building from the release of the new album, I was asked to perform on the 7th annual Capital Jazz Super Cruise. The invitation felt so unbelievable, particularly after I learned about the large pool of artists that I would be included in – Charlie Wilson, Anthony Hamilton, Stephanie Mills, Average White Band, Larry Graham… *record scratch* Wait a minute….. like, Sly and Family Stone LARRY GRAHAM??!? Come on nah!! I’m not sure that “honored” is a strong enough word… So on these flights to Florida, I had NO idea what to expect… none whatsoever. As far as solo performances are concerned, this would probably go down as my most major performance to date, but I wasn’t nervous…. more anxious to see how the next eight days would unfold.

I arrived at Ft. Lauderdale’s airport solo as hell. No manager, no assistant… just me, my backpack and roller bag of merch to sell. The very first thing I learned upon arriving to Florida was to make it known to the staff that you are an artist. Maaaaan, I got my luggage from baggage claim and the next thing I knew, my solo ass was being directed to the wrong shuttle (to the ship). Meanwhile, I learned that the artist’s shuttle had left me in the dust….Well damn. That kinda started off on the wrong page. Eventually, I got things straightened out and was given a ride to the ship where I checked in, got my stateroom key, and got on board. I took my things to my room and made absolutely sure to get in contact with ALL vocalists involved in my performance so that we would all be on the same page with everything while we were still docked and could communicate via texting …for FREE. The second thing I learned was… Man, there were a LOT of folks on that damn ship!! I walked up to the 3rd Deck, which served as the main “lobby” area and watched as everyone got on board all excited and ready to party for a week. This is where I caught up to Deborah Bond, DJ Frances Jaye who was spinning in the lobby area and announcing the artists as we walked through, Jarrard Anthony, and the majority of my D.C. kats who played in the house band. After years of being a fan, I finally met Rahsaan Patterson and ran into trumbonist, Jeff Bradshaw. That’s when it started to hit me… Not only is this cruise a music fan’s dream, but there’s a nice musician community on this mug. The entire week I was pretty much on my toes and checking for familiar faces of folks I had either met before, or of those I had simply seen on TV. Before setting sail, I made sure to text and get the room numbers of all the vocalists that would be involved in my performance the next night (Deborah, Jarrard, Chantae Cann, and Eric Roberson) because once we hit the land of ‘roaming’, I knew most peoples’ cell phones would be turned OFF. I was also told that the house band would be rehearsing with Chantae for her own set later on that evening, so I decided to hit that up before checking out the ship’s main restaurant. NOW…. I had to have a pep talk with myself before I got on there, which went something like… PACE. YOUR. GREEDY. ASS. SELF. ON. THE. FOOD. It’s eight days of unlimited whateverthehell, WHENeverthehell. When it comes to food and eating…. I will admit, I have issues…PLENTY… and have for a long time. SO, I had to make it a point to hit the ship’s GYM on a regular basis too. Throughout the week, I would hit the restaurant for a good meal, or the dinner buffet and then hit the gym for a half hour on the elliptical to uhhh…”break even”. What kind of professional fat boy shit is that? …….Well, that was the cruise routine I chose to make me feel less guilty about eating everything under the sun, so there it is. …..The bright side? At least I was working out – which brings me to the third thing I learned. You wanna get to a quiet place on a cruise other than your room?…… Hit that gym up. I would be in that mug working out with the staff.

Anyway, enough about my struggles with fatassedness… My performance date was set for the following day, Sunday November 3rd in what was called the “Underground Lounge” at the International Lounge venue on the ship. It was myself and D.C.’s own, Maimouna Youseff performing at the same show right after Rahsaan Patterson’s two shows. Word. UP. Being as though I wasn’t traveling the same day as the show, I decided to use my time during the day to do something I never do while I’m at home…….. REST and GET SLEEP. Why? Our show BEGAN at 12:30a and I was told that I would be going on last, which meant my set wouldn’t start until about 1:30a or so. Rest is what I needed and dammit… Rest is what I got. When I woke up, I found out that for some reason our soundcheck was canceled…………………

“UH ohhh…” © Carl Lewis

Ok. Well, that’s not really the news I necessarily wanted to wake up to but you learn to expect these things while on the road and then adjust accordingly. In this case, we were gonna have to go in on this set off of what we rehearsed in D.C. four days prior and the vocalists were gonna have to trust us with the music because we had not gotten to run ANY songs with them. With all that said, I got myself prepared for the show that I had anticipated playing for 4-5 months.


By the time 12:30a came, the ship was rocking…. No, like literally rocking back and forth that night. Maimouna came out and put on a helluva show, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my first time seeing her perform and she certainly set a high standard for me to follow. Once it was my turn, we started high energy out of the gate with Deborah singing “The Train” and then “Count To Five”. Most artists will tell you that while we’re on stage there are usually at least few people in the crowd that we channel energy from because they’re either dancing the hardest, know all of the words, etc… Whatever it is, we look to them the most during a show. Well, in this case the person who I saw in the crowd who was rocking the hardest and knew the words?? …Chrisette Michele. She and her people sat at a table right in the middle of the venue and were going in with us the ENTIRE show – it was definitely a treat to see that. Being as though there was so much talent on the ship …..better yet, so much talent that I had worked with on the ship, my show became almost a game of “vocalist musical chairs.” I had a ball bringing up talented cats such as Jarrard Anthony to sing “New In Town (Happy)” with Deborah, and ole saingin’ ass Chantae Cann to do “All Is Well Is Love” as well as my brother Eric Roberson to do “This Could Be the Night” AND “We Are On the Move”. Then to be able to have them ALL come back up on stage together and sing on “Flight Of the Blackbyrd” to close the show out??! Epic music moment in my performance career.  ….and this was only day number TWO.

Eric Roberson, me & my stank face that made a few appearances during the show.

Eric Roberson, me and my stank face that apparently made a few appearances during the show.

I woke up Monday morning and opened the curtain of my Deck 1 stateroom to a small ferry full of people from the cruise right outside my window waiting to ride over to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas from where we docked…. To be honest, I was just glad I had all of my clothes on or else my nekkid ass may have ended up floating down someone’s Twitter feed that week. I didn’t get off of the ship that day to check out the island, all of my energy was still being occupied by the show the previous night – not to mention the fact that we all hung out afterward until about 4 or 5am. But the next day, I got back up with most of the band and we stepped off of the ship to check out the Dominican Republic for a hot second. We ran into comedian Michael Colyar at the gift shop and when we spoke to him and took our picture, he hit me with… “Oh, the bald guy wants a picture!!” …To which I responded, “But you were at my show on Sunday.” Silliness all the way around, he was cool as hell. I actually think I saw him around the ship all week more than any of the other performers. He was out and about quite a bit.

Me with Michael Coylar

With Michael Coylar

So we got back on the ship and met up on the 3rd floor in the lobby for a nice mid-day drink. Now, the thing I like about cruise bartenders is that they tend to be pretty heavy handed. When I got up to the lobby, the band was finishing up these drinks that were blue… so I walked up talking shit, “What are these ole weak ass lookin’ drainks?” They were ALL like, “Nah, you need one of these!” …I hit the bartender with the, “Let me get whatever you made for them.” He nodded as if to say, “You really don’t know what the hell you’ve just got yourself into.” Needless to say, no more than 10 minutes after receiving this blue draink of fury, I was feeling pret-ty damn alright on that there cruise… The next thing I knew, we looked up and almost did a double-take as Larry Graham was just casually walking through the lobby. I was in straight “fan” mode as I walked up and asked to take a picture with him. It’s definitely not everyday that you’re in the presence of living legends… Hell, we all got pics with him.

Me and Larry Graham

With Larry Graham

One night after catching a late show at the ship’s the main stage, I decided to be greedy and go see what was up on the 9th Deck where the all-night buffets were. I was casually walking through and glanced to the right of me and it was none other than who I thought was Master Gee of the Sugarhill Gang…. I say that I thought it was him because I never saw them listed on the roster of artists. I found out later that they were billed as ‘surprise guests’ so it kinda threw me off to even see him on the boat. After I got my food and walked back through I saw he was still sitting there, this time with Hen Dog (one of their new members). I stopped to speak to both of them and salute one of hip-hop’s groundbreakers. Then next thing I knew, we were conversing for a little while, it was dope. But that’s how the cruise went – a bunch of legendary folks and kats we grew up listening to just casually walking around, lounging and humbly having a great time like the rest of us. Gee was real cool and I gained even more respect for him after meeting and talking with him… A couple of days later, I ended up meeting the other original Sugarhill member, Wonder Mike while having breakfast. As a matter of fact, another morning at breakfast I got up to grab some juice… walked through the door to where I could get a refill and heard someone say, “What’s up ole strong brotha?” …..At first I thought it was one of the band members trying to light me up real quick because the shirt I had on just to walk around the ship and eventually workout was kinda young. NOPE, I turned around to look and it was damn comedian, Bruce Bruce. He was obviously sitting in a strategic spot in the cafeteria where he could pretty much blast on any and everybody who walked through that door – I know about this, I do the same thing, so I had to laugh. I walked over to him, gave him a pound and told him I was a fan.

Cruise Sunset

Sunset after leaving Aruba

Perhaps the best performance I saw on the cruise was by none other than “Unkuh Chaa-lee” better known as Charlie Wilson. He played his set outdoors on the 9th deck as we were leaving the island of Curaçao – very dope setup. I caught a workout before hanging a couple hours before with Biscuit Bynum (drummer) and Dre King (keyboardist/house band Music) to check out his soundcheck and more importantly to lock in a solid spot to actually see the show as folks were starting to gather earrrrrrrrly to see one of the cruise’s main attractions. To see grown ass folks bickering over seats and attempt to create their own seating situation was pretty hilarious, to say the absolute least. But folks finally settled in and partied hard as Charlie and his band put on a helluva show. Now the fun part was AFTER the show when the entire house band from the Underground Lounge met up and we were getting chastised by Charlie Wilson fans because we were intentionally messing up the lyrics to, “First name, Charlie…. Last name, Wilson.” WE were singing……..

“First name, Chaaaaarlie….. Last name, Wiiiilkins!”
“First name, Chaaaaarlie….. Last name, Wiiiiilliams!”
“First name, Chaaaaarlie….. Last name, Wiiiiinans!!”

Folks walking by us were mad as hell… We’d hear, “YOU don’t even know his name!!” and “That’s a SHAME. It’s Chah-leh WILSON!” Angry asses… Talk about late night comedy at its finest.

I wrapped up the cruise by participating in a two-hour Soul Music panel along with Chantae, Ty Causey, Pete Belasco, Jeff Bradshaw, and Baltimore’s own, J. Soul. It was kinda dope to see all of us huddled up after the event in order get each other’s contacts. Overall, I had a ball on the cruise and walked off of there with plenty of new contacts, a few new friends, and a whole helluva lot of new stories. I got to check out shows by Incognito, Anthony Hamilton, Eric Roberson, Chantae Cann, Jarrard Anthony, J. Soul, Pete Belasco, Chrisette Michele, Average White Band, Charlie Wilson, Phil Perry for de FREE??!?! Count me ALL the way in for future cruises.

Cruise Cake

2012 in Pictures

"...Give is up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, ya'll!!" © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

“…Give it up for Lorenzo Ferguson a/k/a Zo!, y’all!!” © Phonte in LA • Photo by Kris Perry (Oct. 2012)

2012 has been another helluva year. I got to do some traveling and play shows in LA, NYC, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis, Bethesda, MD, Greensboro, NC, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Columbia MD, Boston, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, Vienna, VA, Memphis, Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Phoenix …..and Durham, NC for this coming New Year’s Eve. I completed my first year as a full-time musician after the school I taught music at closed last year – I was then able to continue teaching by conducting individual piano lessons and workshop to groups of young ones. I began endorsing Moog Music, received another standing ovation during a performance back home in Detroit, and got the bulk of the recording finished for my newest album ManMade. Sy Smith and I did some touring this year playing big solo shows at DC’s Blues Alley and NYC’s Blue Note and received big performance props from Sheila E while I was back on the road with The Foreign Exchange who wrapped up performances for an album we have been touring for two years, Authenticity. I hit my ten-year anniversary of releasing music as well. Outside of all that, it was a fairly quiet twelve months……….

…Looking forward to 2013. Enjoy the photos!!

Quick Story… Y’all Know I Have Plenty: Playing at Fred Smoot’s Wedding Reception…

Music always has a way of landing me in some interesting and sometimes comedic situations. This one took place in September of 2009… My man Asheru knew a kat who had a direct link to a couple of the Washington Redskins players and wanted to know if he could put a band together to play at cornerback Fred Smoot’s wedding reception – No problem. Ash ended up putting a couple of calls in to members of the ELs crew, including myself on keys, Omar Hunter on bass and Chris “Biscuit” Bynum on drums. We all rolled down to Falls Church, VA to meet up at Fred Smoot’s house and knock the gig out. I arrived to the house first, loaded my equipment in through the garage and headed down into the basement where a long table was set up for guests to eat along with the catered food and drinks all set up along the wall in preparation for the reception itself. Omar, Biscuit, and Asheru rolled in not too long after I did and set their equipment up in the space next to my board. Now, before I move along any further, let’s think about this… It was already random as hell to have received the call to play at Fred Smoot’s wedding reception in the FIRST place so I had no idea what to expect. My impression of him like many other sports fans who would tune in to SportsCenter fairly regularly in the morning, was that he was a pretty solid cornerback who ran his mouth a little bit – yet he always seemed like he was having fun with it. I mean, shit… nowadays, it’s almost like, what athlete doesn’t run their mouth anymore? But then again, those same kats who are all extra and over the top on the field, usually up being the most  down-to-earth and “real” kats off of it. I was pretty interested to see if this held true for Smoot as well. Regardless, we were gonna make this joint fun because the gig was so… I don’t know…. vague and different.

We took our time setting up our equipment because the wedding (which was to take place upstairs on the main floor) had not begun yet. From the looks of things, it wasn’t close to start time either….. Or so we thought. As we were slowly plugging cords into amps and power strips while cracking jokes and figuring out the reception’s food situation, a young lady whom I assumed was the wedding coordinator came downstairs. She walked straight up to me and asked, “Excuse me… But can you play “Here Comes the Bride”, or something as the bride walks down the aisle?”

Although I was totally unprepared for that request being as though we were there to play at the RECEPTION, I was cool about it and responded, “Yeah, I can do that… Let me figure it back out for a couple of minutes to work the kinks out before I actually play it.”

Coordinator: “Oh no… She’s walking down the aisle right NOW.”

Me: *crickets*………… “OH.”

I sat down at the keyboard, turned the volume up so that those attending the wedding ceremony upstairs could hear me and proceeded to play… I’m sorry, I mean work through a slow version of “Here Comes the Bride” all while O and Biscuit were watching me….. and laughing, of course. It’s a pretty simple song, but I had the “heavy concentration face” on as I didn’t want to earn a permanent place in the Smoot Wedding memory annals as the piano player who couldn’t bring the bride down the aisle worth a shit.

I actually got through the bride’s introduction unscathed and we just kinda waited around quietly for the actual wedding ceremony to wrap up. Once it did, everyone in attendance began to filter downstairs to the basement where the reception was being held. Folks took pictures, shared small talk and we were all finally able to get up and get a plate of food. I looked around and saw a few Redskin players that I recognized and there was another kat in attendance whose face looked familiar as well, but I knew he didn’t play football. We discovered it was vocalist, Dave Hollister. Dope! We also found out that Fred wanted him to do a song with us… Well shit, even better… Let’s run it!


The song that Brotha Smoot wanted Dave Hollister to sing with us…….. At his wedding…….. was….

BlackStreet’s “Before I Let You Go.”

*mo crickets*

“Now uhhh, ok uhhh..seee uhhhh…. Lemmeh tehya som’n!!” © Charles Barkley

Pretty much any other time, this song choice would make sense. I mean, outside of “No Diggity” and “Don’t Leave Me”, “Before I Let You Go” is still one of BlackStreet’s best known jams… PLUS, Dave sang the lead on the original recording, so shit…. There it is, the perfect song choice!

*sigh*…Nah man.

I can still hear Biscuit’s response when I told he and Omar what they wanted us to play. He said, “Dogg, at a WEDDING??!” None of us wanted to hit the audience with the “break up song” 30 minutes after Mr. & Mrs. Smoot exchanged vows! I mean, ok…. let me put it to you like this. Let’s take,  Earth, Wind & Fire’s “After The Love Is Gone” for instance. As pretty sounding as that song is, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never hear that shit as a couple’s “first dance at the wedding” choice. But hey… If folks wanna begin a clean slate of matrimony with, “Baby I’ve been thinkin’, there’s something’s goin’ wrong ‘cuz you’ve got an attitude, and you’re not in the mood…. like ya used to”, be my guest. Who am I to argue with what the groom wants played?! Maybe the joint had a deeper meaning than we all thought… I didn’t know, nor did I care to find out. So we talked it over with Dave in regards to how we would present the song format-wise, Omar and I quickly figured out the chords, changes, etc… And we pulled the song off. Now, if I remember correctly, people responded to it pretty well. I was actually bracing myself to get a puzzled response similar to the one Randy Watson received at the “Miss Black Awareness Pageant”. But all jokes aside, Fred Smoot was a good dude, definitely a lot more laid-back and humble than he used to portray himself in the media. After playing for a couple of hours, we ended up leaving that gig with some satisfied wedding attendees, full stomachs, our checks, and more helluva stories for the library…

One For the Road: Zo! + Sy Smith in Washington D.C. (June 13, 2012)

Sy Smith + Zo! at Blues Alley – 06.13.12
Photo by Lauren Persons

Ever since we booked these two shows to play at Washington D.C.’s Blues Alley back in mid-April, I guess it’s pretty safe to say that I automatically got hyped up about the date. As a matter of fact, I think the last time I was THAT amped up for a show was in February when Sy and I played Privé Deux back home in Detroit… And the time before that? Well… when I was in Detroit on Mother’s Day 2011 with The Foreign Exchange, the show where my home gave me damn near a two-minute long ovation that had a brovah holding his eyes wide open and blinking to keep from dropping tears on stage… Yeah THAT one. You kinda see the pattern here? There’s just something undeniable about playing a touring or a major show in your hometown and/or your place of current residence. It is already certain that the energy will be at a higher level for your performance, so naturally, I almost have to monitor my adrenaline rushes and keep them under close surveillance as I used to have to for big games during my baseball playing days. I even hit Sy up not too long after the show was booked… “Maaaaan, I think I’ma have to suit it up for this one.” And speaking of that, allow me to let you in on a little something in case you didn’t know… Grown folks JUMP at the chance to dress up for some shit. The reason? We are rarely presented with a proper “dress up” occasion. And I’m not talking about some silly ass “color scheme” party where you’re limited to one or two colors to choose from. The next thing you know you’re posing in front of airbrushed backgrounds of champagne bottles for a picture that you’re rushing to post onto your “too much info offering” Facebook page. I’m talking about an all-out “damn, I’ve NEVER seen you look THAT good before!!” event. For example, ask a grown ass man the last time he wore a suit (outside of church and work) and I guarantee he’ll be able to tell you the exact date AND occasion. With all of that being said, when I pulled out my black suit to press and get ready for the show, I pulled a food receipt from my pocket from none other than… Blues Alley. The only other time I had ever been was to play keys for a New Year’s Prince tribute that YahZarah was doing to bring in 2011. So uhhh, I guess it had been a long time since my grown ass had been suited up too. We used to do it regularly when touring with The Foreign Exchange while promoting their album Leave It All Behind. We all looked great on stage, but carrying all of those clothes around on the road got to be a PROBLEM. Baggage fees and overpacking remained our arch enemies on the Leave It All Behind tour… Let’s just say we found close allies in T-shirts and jeans.

Zach Cutler, Biscuit Bynum, Sy Smith & I set to rehearse – 06.12.12

Anyway, as I recover from going way off track… Musician-wise, Sy and I already knew who we wanted to use on the show. We had to have Zach Cutler on that guitar and Chris “Biscuit” Bynum on drums. Zach is a super-talented, technically skilled kat who is a rhythm master that will find that pocket and play in it all night. PLUS, he knows our set like the back of his hand being as though this was his third show with us (he joined us in both NYC and Houston last month). Biscuit is pretty much the drummer who is highest in demand ’round D.C. I met him while playing a gig together back in April of 2006 and have hit him up for more than a few gigs since then, including that Leave It All Behind tour I mentioned previously. Once the two of them locked the date in, we knew that we only needed to rehearse together one good time and the remainder would be good to go… and that’s exactly what happened. We all got together, knocked out a tight rehearsal in my studio and got it together for showtime the following day.

Soundcheck at Blues Alley was at 4:30p… I was so hyped up, I was aiming to be at the spot at 4pm just so I could get there, load in, find a decent parking space (like most, I DESPISE parking in and around Georgetown) and properly prepare for our show. To begin with, I ALMOST walked out of the house without my freshly pressed black suit and shirts (one for the 8pm show and one for the 10pm). Next, the fact that it is always an adventure driving to the Georgetown area just added to the fun. My GPS got cussed out thoroughly for 1.) Leading me to a closed road, and 2.) Attempting to direct me down a one-way street… the WRONG way. My road rage was in the red by the time I pulled in to Blues Alley… But all existing anger took a backseat when I drove directly under this…….

Photo by Lauren Persons

*takes a deep breath*

*looks up at the sign again*


Well, they left off the “!”, but I’ll take it… At least they didn’t spell my name with a damn “e” at the end. Seeing that marquee put me right back on track on what I was there to be focused on… Putting on two helluva shows. I walked into the venue and saw that Sy had already been in there… Hell, she was probably just as pumped up as I was. As I set everything of mine up, Zach walked in. Our soundman, Melvin Prince wasn’t too far behind him. Sy came in not too long afterward and quickly set up her rig…….. while Biscuit, to no one’s surprise turned out to be the last man of the crew through the Blues Alley door. We hit a solid check and I walked up the block to 31st St. with Zach and Bis to get some kabob-e joojeh a/k/a chicken kabobs before the show. I wasn’t worried about any pre-show  ‘itis” symptoms showing up as I was entirely too wound up. Sy and I were told by Frank Sheffield (the show’s booker and organizer) that the 8pm room was pretty much sold out. Upon hearing that news, I FELT like going downstairs and hopping on the mic with an enthusiastic, “I AM VERY HAPPY TO BE HERE!!” © Prince Akeem.   …….But after evaluating that option a bit further, I decided against it and continued to get dressed for the first show.

The 8pm show began with Sy and I being led through the occupied tables of people in the dimly lit room via flashlight. We were introduced and jumped right into “Nights Over Egypt”. Normally, with a sit-down crowd you really don’t know what to expect, but this group of folks were VERY responsive and into what was happening on stage. There was one group right in front of me who I acknowledged during the show because they had no problem letting us know where they stood on things…

Sy: “I’m living in LA now”… Table up front: *SCREAM!! CHEER!!!!*

Sy: “Y’all know Zo is outta Detroit…”  …Table up front: *SCREAM!! CHEER!!!!*

Me: “Weren’t y’all just yelling for LA? Maaan, y’all cheer for EVERYTHING!!”

They cheered for everything AND they knew every word to damn near every song we played too and THAT was dope. I can’t describe how great it feels to see folks come out to the shows who love being a part of what you love to do. Hats off to the “Table up front.” The second show was no different… Of course we were a bit more loose not only on the mic, but performance-wise as well and our 10pm crowd took to it extremely well. Overall, folks came out to have fun, party, and laugh with us – Even when we managed to crack a few jokes on some of their favorite artists. The fact that Blues Alley provided that baby grand on stage for us to utilize just made things even more interesting during out set. I took first crack at it during our performance of “Driving” and “Greater Than the Sun.” When it was Sy’s turn to tickle the baby grand ivories, I hopped on the bass guitar for her song “Stand Alone.” Most folks don’t even know that I play the bass… Well shit, there are still plenty who think I sing. So those types of “switch ups” are necessary sometimes on stage so that your people can literally see what you can do – plus, it’s always a nice change of pace within the set.

The love we received after both performances was unbelievable. The fact that we were praised by our elders who were in the crowd was a flattering experience and always is when it does happen. Both of us had family in the audience who ALL left with the widest of proud grins on their faces, which made the performances even that much more special. Sy AND I left the venue on much more of a high than when we both arrived for sound check. Shall I dare say that these two shows surpassed our Atlanta show as our best yet? ….Why yes I shall.

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Zo! – SunStorm (2010) FULL Album Credits



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01. Greater Than The Sun featuring Phonte
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals recorded and mixed by Khrysis
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and the Chopp Shopp, Durham, NC

02. Greatest Weapon Of All Time featuring Sy Smith
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Sy Smith for Sybersong Publishing (ASCAP)
Vocals Arranged and Produced by Sy Smith
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Grant Nochols
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and Rumbo Studios, Winnetka, CA

03. Say How You Feel featuring Phonte & Carlitta Durand
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP) and Carlitta Durand for Durand Music Group (ASCAP)
Vocals by Phonte & Carlitta Durand
All Instruments by Zo!
Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

04. For Leslie
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
All Instruments by Zo!
Flute by Claudia Hayden
Recorded and Mixed by Zo! at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD

05. Be Your Man featuring Darien Brockington
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Darien Brockington for Neidar Music Group (ASCAP) and Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals by Darien Brockington
Background Vocals by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Guitar Solo by Chris Boerner
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

06. Free Your Mind featuring Lady Alma
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by A-Drenaline for Sopo Publishing (ASCAP)
Vocals by Lady Alma
Background Vocals by The Lady Alma Choral Ensemble (Lady Alma & Preston Branch)
Vocals Recorded by Roscoe “Plug-In”Murphy
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Focus…
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and WHODUNIT Studios, Philadelphia, PA

07. SunStorm featuring YahZarah
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP) and YahZarah for She’s A Ladybug (ASCAP)
Vocals by YahZarah
Additional Vocals by Phonte, Darien Brockington & Jesse Boykins III
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

08. If I Could Tell You No featuring Jesse Boykins III
Produced by Zo! and Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music/+FE Music LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals by Jesse Boykins III
All Instruments by Zo!
Trumpet by Stan Graham
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

09. This Could Be The Night featuring Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington & Rapper Big Pooh
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by Eric Roberson for Blue Erro Soul/EMI Music Publishing (ASCAP), Darien Brockington for Neidar Music Group (ASCAP), Thomas Jones for Big Pooh Music (ASCAP) & Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals by Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington & Rapper Big Pooh
Jive Talk by Scorpeze of Windimoto
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

10. Flight Of The Blackbyrd featuring Phonte
Produced by Zo! and Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music/+FE Music LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals by Phonte
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Phonte
All Instruments by Zo!
Trumpet by Stan Graham
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

11. All Is Well With Love featuring Chantae Cann
Produced by Zo! and Phonte for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music/+FE Music LLC
Written by Phonte Coleman for Daddy’s New Bowtie (ASCAP)
Vocals by Chantae Cann
Keys, Bass Guitar, and Cabasa by Zo!
Flugelhorn by Al Strong IV
Flute by Tim Smith
Trombone by Andrew Kleindienst
Congas and Wind Chimes by Brevan Hampden
Maracas and Additional Percussion by El Tigallo
Acoustic Guitar by Omar Hunter-El
Wood and Skins by “Biscuit” Bynum
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Phonte
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and The Peanut Gallery, Raleigh, NC

12. MakeLuv2Me featuring Monica Blaire
Produced by Zo! for Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music (BMI)
Written by B. White for Vera’s Daughter (ASCAP)
Vocals by Monica Blaire
Vocals Recorded and Mixed by Shaphan “Maestro” Williams
All Instruments by Zo!
Mixed by Zo!
Recorded at East Wing Studios, Silver Spring, MD and Silent Riot Studios, Oak Park, MI

Mastered by Soiree Records

© 2010 Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive, LLC/+FE Music, LLC