Unlike most trumpet
players, the basis of Joey's musical essence lies in the Baptist church.
"When I was a teenager, I would judge the caliber of my playing by
the number of people in the congregation who 'got happy.' If you aren't
touching the listener's soul, then you aren't really playing music. Soul
communication is the key," says the Detroit native.
He's blazing tomorrow's trail as a trumpeter, producer and songwriter,
with a sound that is unique and honest. In fact, Joey Sommerville is the
epitome of "smooth." His music mixes the harmonies of be-bop
jazz with the soul and melodic fire of the Baptist church. Sprinkle in
beats and grooves drawn from Atlanta's R&B and Hip-Hop sounds and
you'll start to not only see, but also hear and feel the picture.
The end result of his work can be heard collectively on his debut
national release, "Ride To This." Although we say 'debut',
beware; he is no stranger to the process by any means. In 1996 he
founded Sojo Music, Inc., an independent production company and record
label. IN 2001, he scored a Gavin Top 20 Smooth Jazz hit as a writer/producer
with Bob Baldwin for the single "Business Call." The song
featured Marion Meadows and Tom Browne ("Funkin for Jamaica").
The song was from the album, Bob Baldwin.Com which made the Billboard
Top 20 Contemporary Jazz chart.
Joey is a graduate of Florida A&M Unviversity, home of the famous
Marching 100. "I went to FAMU on scholarship. As part of my
scholarship I was supposed to play with the marching band, the symphonic
band and the jazz band. At the time, playing with the marching band was
like pledging a fraternity: plenty of hazing. Well, I was not at all
with the hazing side of it. I told the director, Dr. Foster, that I
thought it was in the interest of everybody's health if I didn't play
with the marching band. He was real cool about it, and they kept my
scholarship in place for playing with the jazz and symphonic bands."
He is a self-contained Artist, part of a generation of Instrumentalists
and Artists who have embraced technological advances and industry
changes. He honed his engineering chops in Neve and SSL rooms under the
tutelage of industry veterans Ron Banks (Prince, Michael Jackson, etc.)
and Joel Stoner (Warrant, Michael Jackson, Keiko Matsui, etc.).
The student eventually becomes the teacher. Joey was recruited by the
Full Sail Recording Academy and served as the principal instructor for
their Atlanta-based Ground School.
He has worked as a producer/mixer for several artists and independent
labels including: Bob Baldwin, Prince Bassist Rhonda Smith, Eric Essix,
Zebra/Warner Bros., Dean James, Grindstone Records, Orpheus Music,
Interfaith Recordings, Slow Wine Music, Davinchi and Belizbeha.
Joey has an extensive background in commercial work both as a composer/producer
and voice-over artist. His resume is quite impressive, including work
for Ford, Coke, The U.S. Army, J. Walter Thompson, Hi-Fi Buys, Cabot
Creamery, Montreal Bureau of Tourism and Publix Super Markets.
"Ride To This" is a 14 song collection of cutting-edge,
progressive Instrumental R&B and Smooth Jazz. Packed with a lot of
slick musical twists and turns, the album is co-produced with veteran
Producer and Keyboardist Bob Baldwin and features Bassist Rhonda Smith
(Prince), Lil' John Roberts (Janet Jackson, George Duke, Boney James) on
Drums, Guitarists Eric Essix and Billy Odum (Usher, Outkast, Silk,
Goodie Mob) and new gospel vocal sensation, Chapter 5.
Joey never fails to deliver an electrifying and engaging live show. He
has performed and/or recorded with an eclectic array of ensembles from
Hip-Hop to Jam Rock, including Phish , Trey Anastacio, Cash Money
Records, The Cirque du Soleil, The Hartford Symphony, Rhonda Smith and
Kat Dyson (Prince/NPG), Bob Baldwin, Eric Essix, Dean James and Tonight
Show guitarist Kevin Eubanks.
Listen closely to "Ride To This." It will keep your interest
from the first note. If you find yourself listening to this disc in your
car, you'll run out of fuel, taking many a detour, because it is too
good to hit the stop button on your CD player.