Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
Out of Detroit's lively jazz scene, which has produced some of the best musicians in the world, comes the ground breaking all female jazz group, Straight Ahead. A group of strong, inventive instrumentalists and vocalists, they have shown themselves to be powerful and imaginative composers and arrangers.
Widely recognized for their eclectic and soulful approach to creating music, the Straight Ahead sound ranges comfortably from mainstream jazz R&B ballads, avant-garde to Brazilian funk. Their live performances are a dynamic celebration of power and joy. The ladies delight in changing textures, moods, and tempos and love to throw in the occasional musical joke!
Introduced in 1989 as a product of their hometown's lively jazz scene, Straight Ahead was named the finalist in that year's Sony Innovators competition. The new decade saw the ladies receive their first international exposure when they were invited to open for the legendary Nina Somone at the Montreaux-Switzerland Jazz Festival.
In 1990,the group recorded the first album for Atlantic Jazz, Look Straight Ahead, with made the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart Top 20. They followed that up with Body and Soul and in 1995 with their third album Dance Of the Forest Rain, which received rave reviews that include Branford Marsalis, who called the group a monster outfit that truly swings!
These Grammy-nominated Atlantic Jazz recording artists have traveled extensively in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe, garnering rave reviews. Recent appearances include a concert at the prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., where Ms. Sorab Modi, a reviewer for JazzIz Magazine wrote that the band wasparticularly impressive. (JazzIz, August, 1997); and the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival, where This tight, dynamic, outfit stole the show with it's high-energy tour-de-force of musical styles. (Kansas City Star, July 21, 1997). Recent awards include The Motor City Music Awards HALL OF FAME and Talent Deserving Wider Recognition (Downbeat Magazine, April, 1997) Joy, Power, Love, Wisdom...Magic! This is the sound of what is to come. This is Straight Ahead !!
Each individual member of Straight Ahead is an accomplished musician in her own right. Toghether they bring a unique musical personality to the group. Straight Ahead's founding members, the Rhythm Sister - Marion Hayden on bass, Eileen Orr on piano and Gayelynn McKinney on drums are joined by an exciting line-up, which features they dynamic Kymberli Wright on vocals and the electrifying Althea Rene on the flute.