My musical journey began by playing the trumpet in Elementary and Jr. High School. In the seventh grade I made the transition over to the Tuba. The fact was that everyone else played the trumpet and there was a great need for someone to play the Tuba. That is where I started and fell in love with the foundation of the bass and how very important it was to the overall sound of music in general.
I started playing the electric bass when I was 14 years old and my first instructor was Mr. Dan Bowens. I continued my musical journey at Suitland Sr. High School and at Prince Georges Community College. I am also one of the founding fathers of the popular 1980’s Go-Go band named Ayre Rayde. We played in and around the Washington, DC area for about 10 years. That is where I truly learned the essence of funk and the importance of locking in the groove with the drummer. I am also a managing partner and the bass guitarist for Phaze II, a six piece contemporary jazz band. Phaze II has been performing together in and around the Washington, DC area for about 15 years. Phaze II was chosen the winner of the 2005 Capital Jazz Challenge Competition. This competition was held at the 13th Annual Capital Jazz Festival in Columbia, MD. We are now currently the house band for the Catch a Rising Star Showcase at the Capital Jazz Festival in which I am the music director . I am also the bassist at Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA and St. Matthews Baptist Church in Washington, DC.
In 2008 I had the honor of playing for Pope Benedict and about 60,000 people at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC. In 2010 I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for three months and perform with Hajji & the Jump Street Band. Hajji is the father of the lovely and very talented singer/actress Mya. This was truly a life changing experience for me.
I had the privilege of performing or recording with such artist as; Ayre Rayde, Phaze II, Soundproof Band, Rob Maletick, Yvonne Johnson, Youthful Spirits, The JWRM Project, The Men for Christ, Keith Killgo, Corinthia Cromwell, NexXzit, Vince Chapman, Glen Douglass, Ricky Wellman, Lori Jenaire, Miriam Wright, Sha’ Summerlin, The JD Experience, James “Kelly Fox” Davis, Earl Johnson Jr., Tony Exum Jr., Marcus Anderson, BK Jackson, Althea Rene, Lin Roundtree, Gail Jhonson, Yancyy, Oli Silk, Lynn Fiddmont, Kevin Whalum, Cindy Bradley, Jackie M. Joyner and the late Sam Smith along with countless others.
I thank my loving parents Elbert & Mary Norton for all of your love and support. A very special thank you to my queen Ramona for being my number one fan! To the Parker family and my VTMBC family, for always having my back when I need you. Most of all I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with the ability and having the privilege to make the beautiful sound of music!
“Over the years, Washingtonians have been fortunate to witness with pride the extraordinary number of outstanding jazz groups that have sprung forth from our area. We have another bright star to get excited about, PHAZE II.” Bob Jenkins, Smooth Jazz 105.9.
Backtalk, the sophomore CD released in 2004, has unique style and versatile sounds that range from Latin Jazz to R&B. A stirring rendition of R&B artist, Musiq Soulchild’s Half Crazy, will surely put you in a mellow mood.
Determined to broaden their vision, PHAZE II entered the 13th Annual Capital Jazz Festival-2005 Capital Jazz Challenge Competition. This competition was sponsored by Washington DC’s Smooth Jazz 105.9 and Baltimore, Maryland’s Smooth Jazz 104.3. The final competition consisted of 6 bands chosen from 600 competition entries. The winner of the competition received a monetary contribution and had the opportunity to open the next day on the Capital Jazz Festival’s main stage. Thousands of Capital Jazz Fest fans endured the heat as they cheered for their favorite band. Nervousness fell upon the bands and the fans during this announcement:
THE WINNER OF THE 2005 CAPITAL JAZZ FESTIVAL COMPETITION IS…P H A Z E II
PHAZE II performed at the 2006 Capital Jazz Festival with other national acts at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. This jazz ensemble has been fortunate to grace the stages of Smooth Jazz artists such as Walter Beasely, Ken Navarro, Jimmy Sommers, Jeff Golub, and Rob Malatick, to name a few. This entire experience is an opportunity of a lifetime for all of the talented members of this band.
PHAZE II performs for a variety of social events and community functions. This band continues to work diligently through the passion of their music.
Contact CEO of PHAZE II, Steve Perkins, at 202-251-9687 for booking information. Visit their website at www.phaze2jazz.com to learn more about the journey of this exciting band.