Onaje Allan Gumbs

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Onaje Allan Gumbs
Birth nameAllan Bentley Gumbs
Born (1949-09-03) September 3, 1949 (age 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresBebop, hard bop, soul jazz, smooth jazz, fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, lyricist
InstrumentsPiano
Years active1970s–present
Labels18th and Vine, Ejano
Associated actsObba Babatundé, Woody Shaw, Nat Adderley, Kenny Burrell, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Angela Bofill, Betty Carter, Grady Tate, Jeffrey Osborne, Deneice Williams, Norman Connors, Sathima Bea Benjamin
Websiteonajeallangumbs.com

Onaje Allan Gumbs (born Allan Bentley Gumbs, September 3, 1949) is a New York-based pianist, composer, and bandleader.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

In 1971, Leroy Kirkland introduced Onaje to the Detroit guitarist Kenny Burrell, to whom Onaje gave a demo tape. The following day, Onaje received a call to play with Burrell at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit. This work led to further performances with major jazz musicians such as bassist Larry Ridley as well as The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra. During those early 1970s, Onaje replaced Nat Adderley, Jr. in a contemporary jazz ensemble called Natural Essence. At that time in the course of two years, some of the personnel of this group included drummer Buddy Williams, bassist Alex Blake, trombonist Earl McIntyre and on percussion, T. S. Monk.

Gumbs adopted the name Onaje in the early 1970s; it means "the sensitive one".[3]

"His association with the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York and his work with the Litchfield Jazz Camp in New Milford, Conn., allow him to expand his vision and shape young minds."[3]

Solo works[edit]

On January 24, 2010, Onaje suffered a stroke. Miraculously, he stayed in the hospital for only two days. By December of that same year, an album was released in Japan entitled Just Like Yesterday. On this CD Onaje was accompanied by Omar Hakim, Victor Bailey, Marcus McLaurine, William S. Patterson and Chuggy Carter. Any visible signs of the stroke had since vanished. In February 2015, Onaje suffered another medical setback. Although he was hospitalized for two weeks, he recovered and was able to return to work doing what he does best, composing, arranging and playing piano.

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
1976 Onaje SteepleChase Solo piano[4]
1980s Bloodlife: Solo Piano Improvisations Based on the Melodies of Ronald Shannon Jackson Ejano Music Solo piano; released around 2014[3]
1988? That Special Part of Me Zebra
1989? Dare to Dream Zebra With Roger Byam (tenor sax), Jef Lee Johnson and Kevin Eubanks (guitar), Oscar Carataya (bass), Buddy Williams (drums), Steve Thornton (percussion), Gerri Griffin and Dennis Collins (vocals)[5]
2000 Return to Form Half Note With Rene McLean (alto sax), Marcus McLaurine (bass), Payton Croslley (drums), Gary Fritz (percussion)
2004 Remember Their Innocence Ejano Music With Sadao Watanabe (alto sax)
2006 Sack Full of Dreams 18th & Vine With Mark Shim (tenor sax), Bob DeVos (guitar), Marcus McLaurine (bass), George Gray (drums), Gary Fritz (percussion), Obba Babatunde (vocals)
2010? Just Like Yesterday Pony Canyon

Main source:[6]

As sideman[edit]

With Nat Adderley

With T. K. Blue

  • Follow the North Star (JaJa, 2008)

With Betty Carter

With Norman Connors

With Carlos Garnett

With Toninho Horta

With Ronald Shannon Jackson

With Bennie Maupin

With Cecil McBee

With Mark Mosley

  • TLC (Mark Mosley, 2012)

With Avery Sharpe

  • Running Man (JKNM, 2011)
  • Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman (JKNM, 2013)

With Woody Shaw

With John Stubblefield

With Charles Sullivan

With Lenny White

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allaboutjazz biography
  2. ^ Allmusic
  3. ^ a b c Harabadian, Eric (September 2014). "Grace and Sensitivity". DownBeat. p. 54.
  4. ^ Dryden, Ken. Onaje – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Onaje Allan Gumbs: Dare to Dream". AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  6. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 617. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.