We make music.
Jazz, R&B, Reggae cross over. We are a FUSION
that is F.U.S.E.
What happens when musical currents collide?
Central Virginia is the true musical melting pot where smooth jazz
with soul - funky, ethnic and Caribbean is F.U.S.E.. Almost any night
touring the clubs of Charlottesville you will find live music and bands
playing hot jazz, cool jazz, banjo and uke strummers from West
Virginia, sultry songsters, Reggae masters, R&B, loads of 'foot
stumping' or 'sit back and listen' sounds. F.U.S.E. epitomizes this
coming together of sounds on the backs of seasoned musicians.
|"F.U.S.E. - Jazz stars
Darrell Rose, Jim
Wray and Steve
Smith meld minds to
become one cosmic
jazz entity." Cville -
Arts this week, May
Three distinct musical streams collide in F.U.S.E.: the
R&B/jazz vocals and compositions of the virtuoso guitarist
Steve Michael Smith; the fluid percussion of Reggae
master Darrell Rose (formerly with the Wailers); and Jim
on keys and t-bone.
(by Steve Michael Smith)
(by Steve Michael Smith)
(by Steve Michael Smith)
(Funky Urban Southern
Music that is joyful and will lift you out of your seat. A collection of individuals in love with their
music and the thrill of performing live with soul; compositions that will stir you; subtleties and
exclamations that contrast and provide the tension that is signature of music you're going to
want to hear again and again. The nucleus of Steve Michael Smith and Jim Wray came
together almost by accident as performers at the Azurat Festival in Montebello, VA, July 4
2009. Jim was on the bill with his partner in the ensemble 2x88, Hod O'Brien, a two jazz piano
styling. But Hod had to cancel and at the last minute Jim contacted through a 3rd party a
musician he thought he had played with a year prior. Confident of the quality and chemistry
with this other, Jim brought Steve Michael on as his duo companion at Azurat. Of course the
joke was that they had actually never met before that afternoon of the concert. Nonetheless,
the magic was there; they connected and piano, guitar, voice and trombone flowed like
brothers who had been playing together since the womb. After about 6 months of cabaret
work as a duo, Smith-Wray morphed into F.U.S.E. with the addition of Darrell Rose, Brian
Mesko and Peter Matthews.
The seminal performance of the full ensemble was at the Mudhouse in Crozet, VA February
19, 2010. This is a fine venue in the backwaters of Charlottesville; the sound was pure.
Streams of jazz, soul, R&B, Caribbean, reggae, Brazilian, Steely Dan, fuse in F.U.S.E.
Steve Michael Smith experience as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter
includes recording and performing with some of the world's most outstanding
musicians. He has played guitar with OBO ADDYS, KUKRUDO (an
internationally renown African/jazz ensemble), B.B. COLEMAN, CHARLES
NEVILLE of the world famous NEVILLE BROTHERS, MUESTRE ALIMIRO
AQUILINO, drummer GRAHAM LEAR, fomerly of the band SANTANA and
recorded with JOHN SMITH of the pop band, NU SHUZ. Other recordings, he's
been featured on include JELLY BEHIND THE SUN with IKE WILLIS, TERRY
ROBB, and the WILD INDIANS (a NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARD WINNER).
Formerly with OCEAN 503, a Portland, Oregon-based rhythm and blues band,
One of Steve..s more recent tracks ..Truth About Love.. performed with the
band Ocean503 is a pop-reggae piece which has a light and breezy feel to it.
The song was based on the notion that ..all we are looking for is right before us.
Perhaps we should consider the obvious. The premise is simple enough. But
what still awaits to be discovered?.. Peace
(photo credit: Kevin Blackburn)
the F.U.S.E. team for the album Light My FUSE
Jim Wray has led jazz ensembles on piano and on trombone with two European
tours and club dates from New York, to Minnesota to Los Angeles spanning
traditional, be-bop and cool jazz. His music life was balanced with academic and
industry careers in physics and engineering. Now settled in Charlottesville with
his shaman wife Deborah he has teamed with a couple of world class musicians.
He can be found doing 2 piano concerts with Hod O’Brien as the 2x88 project
and acts as liaison and electronic media creative person for F.U.S.E. His driving
horn and keyboard work accent and embellish giving F.U.S.E. contrast to the
melodic lead of Steve.
Darrell Rose performs as soloist, as accompanist, and as front man for the
Afrikan Drum Festival. He plays a wide array of instruments including djembe,
sabar, berimbau, nshiko, and talking drum. Having studied with Master
Drummers Mor Tiam and Abdou Kunta of Senegal, Babatunde Olatunji of
Nigeria and Joseph N’Gwai of Cameroun. Based in Charlottesville since 1990,
his musical experience began in New Orleans and Nashville. He has performed
with Cyril Neville in New Orleans, with Odetta in England , with Vassar Clements,
with Peter Rowan, with the Wailers from 2000 to 2004, with Corey Harris in
Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2004 on behalf of the State Department and with
Taj Jahal, Randy Weston and Corey Harris at Jazz at Lincoln Center, 2004.
Artist in Residence at various Virginia public and private schools since 1991, he
was given the Outstanding Educator Award by the Piedmont Council of the Arts
Peter Matthews is a British bassist, guitarist, composer, music educator and
journalist. A student of Ron Carter (bassist with the mid-60s Miles Davis
Quintet) Peter has toured the US with Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamash’ta’
s Red Buddha Theatre and recorded an LP for RCA with his rock band Stars.
Stars has toured and performed live on BBCtv. He has lived in the Canary
Islands playing with an international salsa group. Currently he makes his home
in Lexington VA and is equally at home on the upright or guitar bass. Peter
brings a rich stream to F.U.S.E. with his academic credentials in
Ethnomusicology, his compositions and arranging finesse and his strong
command of his instruments coming from a rich international background. Being
Brit is cool enough, but no, he's talented to boot.
Brian Mesko was musically birthed by Nashville where he has worked with the
likes of jazz organist Moe Denham, pop/funk artist Sam Brooker, latin/jazz/blues
artist Rafael Vasquez, and Greg Bryant's jazz quintet. Through Moe and Greg,
he had the honor of playing guitar with jazz legends Les McCann, Tony Monaco
and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Having relocated to Staunton VA he has become the
mainstay of several bands because of the versatility and vitality he brings to the
craft. Brian, equally at home on drums, guitar or bass, can be seen with other
THE NICHOLSON BROTHERS BAND - blues/funk/rock
BC's BIG RHYTHM SOUND - top 40, motown, rock
JULIANA MARQUES & WAVE - brazilian jazz
SPLAAAT - jazz
THE MESKOS - acoustic/vocal duo