Pianist, composer, and arranger Onaje Allan Gumbs will take part in two major musical collaborations in the upcoming months. On September 20 at the famed Apollo Soundstage, Onaje and the esteemed stage and film actor Obba Babatunde will reprise their successful collaboration from Onaje's latest album Sack Full of Dreams. Onaje and Obba will by joined by actress and vocalist Ebony Jo-Ann for the concert.
On December 13-16, Onaje will team up with the South African jazz pianist Hotep Idris Galeta for a unique, cross-continental jazz duo piano concert at Shutters Caf in New York. Special guests will be announced at a later date.
Harlem-born and Queens-raised, Onaje Allan Gumbs has enjoyed a career as first-call sideman, valued arranger and composer, producer, bandleader, and recording artist. Many will remember his vital contributions to such Woody Shaw classics as Moontrane and Rosewood, to which he lent his composing and arranging skills. Still others will recall his work as producer and arranger for vocal dates led by Marlena Shaw; or perhaps his sideman contributions to dates with an impressive range of artists - from Kenny Burrell and Nat Adderley, to Ronald Shannon Jackson, to Jonathan Butler. Onaje 's soundtrack writing includes Danny Glover's Showtime film Override, and Onaje's composition Dare to Dream" was a theme for a Panasonic awards presentation. In 2006, Onaje was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as Outstanding Jazz Artist, and is currently working as the composer for an NPR radio documentary on Negro Spirituals.
Onaje's latest album, Sack Full of Dreams, was released this past January, and has earned him praise from the Washington Post for his brand of effortless, small-combo swing" and his frequent embrace of soul jazz grooves that brings out the best in his bandmates." To date, the album has climbed up to the #13 Jazzweek Spot for radio play.