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In the summer of 2004, a group of aspiring, young composers embarked on a project. They called the project HoneyBaked—a band of collaborating performer/composers out to create something new. HoneyBaked is a jazz/funk fusion band based out of Birmingham, AL. Their unique sound has captured the ears of local listeners, building them a strong fan base in their home town. Their music consists of complex jazz oriented chord structures, anything but average time signatures, and melodies influenced by anything from traditional Arabian melodic passages to west cost American jazz. They embrace the soulful harmonies of gospel as well as the dissonant sounds of late Miles Davis. HoneyBaked is a riding the wave of jazz oriented music that has been made so popular these past several years by such artists as Medeski, Scofield, Martin, & Wood; Galactic; Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; and Soulive. HoneyBaked ‘s focus lies in music as an art without focusing on the strong image driven scene that lingers in today’s pop culture. Talent, musicianship, and meaningful compositions with intricate lines and powerful beats rule the creative endeavors of this group of collaborators.
Peyton Grant (keyboards)
Portraying a sense of balance has always intrigued Peyton Grant. Being a multi-instrumentalist and an award-winning guitarist helped him realize that he did not need to play guitar; the world had plenty. He also realized that the music he listened to lacked the balance between when to play out and when to be a part of a bigger picture. A current student at Montevallo, and attendee of the Berklee College of Music 5-week Blowout in 2003, Grant has never been one to do something he didn’t think would help him in the long run. In his opinion a person can do whatever he wants as long as there is passion behind it and goal set and worked towards. The Suzuki Method, often called the “mother-tongue method,” has been a big part in Grant’s musical life providing a strong competency and relative pitch. With a natural knack for numbers, Peyton Grant understands the piano best of all instruments. “Being given a freedom like the piano, that is, just being able to sit down to a clean slate and have every color at your fingertips is very liberating,” says Grant. Grant hopes to keep playing forever and always keep raising the bar.
Jamie Isobe (Guitar)
Jaime Isobe received his Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College (Fine Arts of Music). Primarily focused with blues, funk, and jazz, he chose a classical route to deepen his musical awareness and taste. After learning to jump through hoops, Isobe pursued the race for musical betterment through performance and composition. “Music is a constant conversation. The more you know in terms of technique or form and subject matter in terms of musicality and its devices, the more interesting and provocative the art becomes… Like a conversation, the more literate you are, the more interesting the conversation.” Various gigs including big band jazz ensembles and jazz combos kept an open path for musical growth as well as exposure to Birmingham’s social elite at functions including college Star-Light dinners and Veterans’ Day functions which hosted the country’s highest ranking military officers. Performance became a passion that created a much needed high for the young musician. From Bach to Hendrix, Segovia to Scofield, Isobe’s influences have pushed him to see the possibilities of music in general… where genres fade at the point and become fused together to create something new and genuine yet harking to the art from the past 50 years of music.
Jonathan Ross (Bass)
Jonathan Ross was born August 10, 1984 in Birmingham, Alabama. Ross has just recently completed a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English with an emphasis in British literature from Birmingham-Southern College. During his tenure at Birmingham-Southern, Ross took several music courses focusing on theory, composition, and performance. Though classically trained in the humanities, Ross has always been an avid music fan and musician. The son of a professional musician, Ross has always been in constant contact with music, particularly the sounds coming from the bars and clubs of his hometown. “I have always had an affinity with the music scene that my hometown offers. From Sun Ra to the Temptations, music has a rich history and bright future in Birmingham’s city center. With the help of my bandmates I hope to contribute to that.” Ross has been playing the bass for well over 10 years now and is continuing to learn what it means to be a truly great bass player. “Jaco Pastorius is my greatest influence in the craft,” Ross says, “he had an impeccable ability to fulfill his basic duty of providing a rhythm and groove for his bandmates while at the same time offering something that was completely his own. With this guidance I want to be able to allow the soloist in HoneyBaked to feel free in thinking outside of the box because they have the confidence that I will be there will the original theme still available.” Like all the members of HoneyBaked, Ross wants to incorporate a sound that is eclectic and authentic at the same time. Combining different styles and genres to their music is why Ross thinks HoneyBaked’s music is unique and interesting to play.
Doug Norton (Sax/Flute)
Born March 1, 1985 in New Orleans, Doug Norton, saxophonist, composer, and award winning soloist, has been developing his musical style for the better part of 14 years. His influences range from R&B to jazz to even Celtic folk (a long time favorite art-form). His style is melodically driven supported by an emotional sound. “Improvisation is one of the purest ways of conveying emotion,” he says. “It’s all about the moment, and the moment is what life is all about.” Norton is always looking for new and exiting ways to incorporate the sound of woodwind instruments into the music he collaborates on, as well as bring his own sense of musical “weirdness” to the drawing board. Norton seeks to explore music in the most broad of senses, incorporating various sounds and styles that reach out to and connect with everyone from every background. He believes “music comes from your toes” and that there is a way to bring people together under the same beat. “There’s something magical about music.” Norton explains. “It takes everything—time, space, emotion, sound, and nature and pulls it all together. Everyone finds a way to associate with music.”
Eddie Gray (Drums)
Eddie "Cadillac" Gray is a Birmingham hometown monster; bred to move the beat forward. He drives with a distinctive knowledge of impeccable rhythms matched with the solid and calm heart of a true "musicians" ear. He is truly a balance between consistency and attack... letting the moments make the most of him in determining style. From funk to soul, electric church to the river docks of NOLA Jazz, Gray incorporates the grooves of old for a revamp on true rhythm that will drive the crowd into a break out. "I enjoy the freedom of just being me. My life is simple, and stress free because i'm "living my life like it's golden." I want to be happy with every decision I make." Solid mind for solid beat.
January 30, 2006
September 19, 2008
Music means to me:
Birmingham Southern College, University of Montevallo, University of Alabama
music, food, gourmet beer and wine.
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