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A hugely popular regional sensation since forming in 2006, the Charlotte, North Carolina based
group 5th and York’s dynamic, multi-faceted follow-up to their infectious 2011 debut album “Nascentum,” is entitled “ALL IN”. The new project offers a clever overview of the Charlotte, North Carolinas’ urban jazz ensemble’s musical mission this time around. 5th and York is stirred up the urban smooth jazz landscape with the release of its eclectic debut album and are taking things a step further this time around by releasing their first National Single “Maputo,” an explosive cover of the classic, Marcus Miller penned smooth jazz format staple that was originally recorded by Bob James and David Sanborn on their Grammy winning album Double Vision.
The group’s saxophonist and co-founder Derwin Friday is the jazzy core of the group who has been playing with bassist Dewarren Tate for over ten years; Friday’s first cousin, guitarist Derrick Friday, is a rocker who adds powerful electricity to their infectious melodies and driving grooves. Keyboardist and musical director George Mason is a renowned musician in several different genres of music
including Gospel and Hip Hop. Drummer Johnny Gillard lays down the rhythmic foundation
for the band, and is a contemporary jazz natural who is coveted by many bands throughout
the area for his uncanny ability to, as Derwin says, “keep time like a human metronome.”
Lead vocalist Tra Mason, has shared the stage with various gospel and R&B stars, including
Glen Jones and Ginuwine.
5th and York has come a long way and matured as a band significantly since their first gig at The Jazz Café in 2006. In addition to headlining at regional festivals and playing local clubs, they have opened for legendary artists Hiroshima, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago, as well as R&B greats Anthony Hamilton and the late Gerald Levert. The main attraction as the weekly house band in the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte for the past three years,5th and York’s profile in the Charlotte region increased tremendously. Before the Ritz, they performed regularly at the House of Jazz in Charlotte and Brown Street Tavern in Greenville, South Carolina (where they also have a strong following), in addition to all their philanthropic work and festival gigs. Recent festival appearances in Charlotte and Greenville include The Derby Festival (held the weekend of the Kentucky Derby), Sunset Jazz Festival, Sip and Stroll Festival (a wine and music event) and the Fall for Greenville Festival.
5th and York opened the 2013 Uptown Charlotte Jazz Festival (whose lineup featured Peter White, Euge Groove and Brian Culburtson) this past summer, frequenting in cities like Atlanta and Greenville, SC, which has become a popular contemporary jazz hub in the region. The band also continues its involvement with numerous charities, performing at galas for such organizations as A Better World – a local charity helping develop after school and summer programs for children from low income and single parent homes. They also have performed for the local chapter of the Red Pump Society on behalf of World AIDs day various times.
“The clever opening preludes that 5th and York uses to launch their spirited and emotionally compelling new album All In lets listeners know that while it’s tough out there trying to make a mark and survive in the music industry, they’re committed for the long haul. Which is a great thing for adventurous urban jazz fans, because what Derwin Friday and his crew offer once again is a mix of great songcraft, daring production, an exciting mix of R&B styles (old school to modern funk), bright exciting keyboards, deep pockets, wild electric guitars and some great horns – including Derwin’s straight to the heart sax playing, brassy textures where appropriate and that crafty trombone touch that underscores one of the set’s key emotional moments. For sure, the focal point for most will be their explosive cover of “Maputo” Which is the bands first nationally released single– but there is so much more to enjoy on this engaging set. 5th and York takes urban jazz to places it needs to be – so it’s our good fortune that they’re not only still around, but All In.”