VMSoul mourns the passing of Michael Jackson. Many of us grew up with Michael in our lives for over 40 years. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
David Williams, a Newport News resident, was a much demanded guitarist. His rhythms have graced numerous top hits, and he has toured with some of the most well-known artists in the world, including, Madonna, Michael Jackson,Van Halen, Jessica Simpson, Chaka Kahn, Lionel Richie. Earth, Wind & Fire, The Jacksons, George Howard and Boz Scaggs.
Schooled in Jazz and influenced by such legends as Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell, David Williams earned a job early on, touring with The Dells. Later he became the rhythm guitarist for The Temptations on the road. After a tour serving his country in Vietnam, Williams went to California. When word of his skills started spreading in music circles there, he got a call from Quincy Jones, which opened up many doors.
David Williams teamed with James Jamerson, Jr., starting their own group, Chanson, with the hot record, "Don't Hold Back," on Ariola Records. The album featured top musicians including members from Toto, the Funk Brothers, and Earth, Wind & Fire's Phoenix Horns.
Most people may not know his name, but they certainly know his work. That rousing rhythm guitar featured in Michael Jackson's smash, "Billie Jean," is none other than David Williams. Michael even had David perform with him at the halftime show of the Superbowl in 1993, as well as on The Dangerous Tour.
David Williams died Friday, March 6, 2009, at Sentara Careplex in Hampton.
REMEMBERING DAVID WILLIAMS:
"David was the first brother around here wearing a process. He used to always walk around with that guitar strapped to his back. People thought he was crazy, but he knew he had a plan to make it in the music business. One day, there was a big show at the Sports Arena, starring the Temptations. We were all there because at the time, The Tempts were like the biggest group in the world. During the middle of the show, as Melvin Franklin was introducing all the band members, he suddenly stopped the show, and in that big bass voice of his introduced Newport News' own, David Williams. The crowd went wild, recognizing their homeboy playing guitar. Later on, David took some of us backstage and introduced us to the Tempts. They were so gracious and we were happy and proud of David." --Daniel Goldstone--
Salena Jones started out in Newport News as Joan Elizabeth Shaw. As she puts it, "I loved Sarah Vaughan so much and adored Lena Horne's elegance, I put them together as ‘Salena.’ It looked good. And I kept Joan in ‘Jones.’” And that's how Salena Jones was born."
This immensely versatile vocalist went on to record over 40 albums, 500 songs, and toured the world, including places like Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Turkey, Austria, Israel, Rio de Janeiro, Bulgaria, Australia, Africa, South America, China, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and annual visits to Japan.
Salena has recorded and performed with such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Arthur Prysock, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Big Maybelle, King Curtis, Herman Foster, Arthur Prysock, Tom Jones, The Coasters, Count Basie Orchestra, Adelaide Hall, Art Farmer, Brook Benton, Barney Kessel, Art Themen, Sarah Vaughan, Hank Jones, Maynard Ferguson, Dudley Moore, The Five Keys, and LaVern Baker.
In 1964, Down Beat jazz critic Leonard Feather chose Salena Jones as one of the female vocalists of the year, alongside Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Nancy Wilson.
Salena Jones has performed in some of the major clubs and concert halls in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, as well as appearing regularly on radio and TV broadcasts all over the world, including having her own series in the United Kingdom.
Dorsey Brockington the talented and versatile performer and recording engineer who used to also co-own and operate a recording studio Brockington & Guess on 35th Street in Norfolk, VA with Lenis Guess. Dorsey D. Brockington BORN: June 16, 1935 DIED: September 11, 2011 RESIDENCE: Leesburg, VA
The Now and Then Trio is an established jazz group featuring three outstanding musicians that performed for a number of years at the Williamsburg Inn in Williamsburg, Virginia. In addition to playing for other special events, the group traveled to Guyana, South America in 1998 and presented concerts, club dates and workshops throughout the country.
The members of the trio are recognized as three of the most outstanding musicians in the Tidewater and Hampton Roads Area and they have and do perform with various other groups when not performing as the Now and Then Trio. Their repertory includes music from a wide spectrum and styles. Their first sold out cassette release titled “GOOD STUFF” was a good indication of the easy listening type of music they specialize in. Their last cd titled “LIVE AT THE INN” was also a hot seller.The members of the trio are Robert (Bob) Ransom, Vibes, trumpet,cornet and Flugelhorn; James (Flip) Hoopes, guitar and Eddie Edwards, string bass.
Bob Ransom, Cornet,Flugelhorn,Vibes. After spending 20 plus years as an Air Force Bandsman and recently retired from Hampton University as an Assistant Professor of Music after 22 years, he often serves as a clinician and soloist, has performed with Mel Tormé and the big band of Thad Jones & Mel Lewis. Other artist include Roy Brooks, Tony Martin, Eartha Kitt, Tavaraus, The Spinners, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Mitzi Gaynor, The O.J’s, Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole. Bob is a member of the Great American Music Ensemble, The Roy Muth Jazz Band, the Now and Then Trio and a retired member of the Virginia Symphony. He is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment (1998-90) and is a past President of the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators.
Flip Hoopes, Guitarist, began his musical career with the United States Air Force Military Airlift Command Band at Scott Air Force Base, in November 1961. Hoopes became Leader/Conductor of the jazz show band and performed throughout the United States and other countries for high ranking dignitaries including presidents Ford, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He also worked with many prominent entertainers such as Andy Williams, Vic Damone, George Gobel, Bob Hope, Sarah Vaughn and many others. Flip has performed in night clubs, restaurants, and concert halls with such artist as Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Patti Page, Tony Martin and others. He has been invited to perform at many of the local jazz festivals and special events. For a number of years he has been a member of the very popular local group, The Connie Parker Quartet plus the Now and Then Trio.
Eddie Edward's, String Bass, has been performing professionally since 1957. After retiring from the Army in 1971, Eddie became a member of the Freddy Cole Trio and performed in night clubs and concerts across the country and in cities all over the world as well as recording several albums during their eleven year relationship. Eddie has performed with such jazz greats as Jimmy Dorsey, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, and the Ramsey Lewis Quartet to name but a few. Eddie continued to perform professionally while pursuing a degree in Music Education. During that time he received numerous honors and awards such as, the “Delta Cup for Excellence” and was identified in “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities”. Eddie joined the Connie Parker Quartet in 1991 and is presently teaching at the College of William and Mary.
Tommy Newsom, Tenor sax, Millions of fans of The Tonight Show from the 1960s to early '90s would attest to his outstanding musicianship. Newsom's formal musical training began with piano lessons at the age of eight. As a teen, he played in the high school band and orchestra and played sax in the Dave Parker band - a local Big-Band of the 1940s. He earned degrees from the Norfolk Division, College of William & Mary, Peabody Conservatory and Columbia University. As a serviceman, he played with the Air Force “Airman of Note” Jazz Band. Newsom began his professional music career in New York City, playing sax at the Taft Hotel with Vincent Lopez, in the television orchestra for the Merv Griffin Show, and on tour with Benny Goodman. He joined The Tonight Show in 1962, rising from band member to Assistant Music Director, and gaining renown across America as favored straight man to Johnny Carson's deadpan humor. The Tonight Show received five Emmy awards during Newsom's years with the show. Tommy Newsom has arranged and composed music for Skitch Henderson, Woody Herman, Beverly Sills, Kenny Rogers, Charlie Byrd, John Denver and other performers. His awards include National Outstanding Jazz Musician and a Cleo Award for his American Airlines radio commercial. Back home, his Portsmouth Virginia supporters honored him with "Tommy Newsom Day" in 1980.
Connie Parker--"Lovely Lady C"
Connie Parker, Vocalist & Piano. Virginia jazz vocalist and pianist Connie Parker is affectionately known as “Lovely Lady C”. Her appearances are eagerly awaited by her listeners who are mesmerized by her sounds that range from progressive jazz, R&B, and pop to other varieties of music. Connie plays to the crowd till they’re on their feet singing. She has been delighting lovers of jazz with her cognac-smooth crooning and unbeatable humor since her debut in 1975. She has opened for such great as Count Basie, Stanley Turrentine, Lou Rawls, Roy Ayers, Angela Bofill, Noel Pointer, Roberta Flack and Les McCann. She has also teamed with Tommy Newsom of the “Tonight Show”, Pieces of a Dream, Donald Byrd, Hank Crawford and Arthur Prysock. In 1984, WRAP Radio Station awarded Connie the “Ella Fitzgerals Award for the Jazz Vocalist of the Year”. A phrase currently being used in a local advertisement clearly describes Lady C: “When Lady C Sings, its worth taking note”.
Billy Williams, Drums, was born April 17,1987. He began playing drums in his grandfather’s church at the age of 10 and continue to play there today. Started playing jazz at the age of 13. A recent graduate of the Govenor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA. Billy just completed his freshman year as a music major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout his short career as a musician, he has had the opportunity to work with some very talented people whom have influenced him a great deal. He says “I am thankful for every opportunity I have to play music as I realize that it is a gift from the creator. I’m striving every day to reach my goals”.