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Dazz has a simple philosophy about music: play every note like it's your last. That passion comes across in everything he does, and is one reason this Philadelphia bassist has been one of the area's most in-demand musicians, composers and producers for twenty-plus years. From playing in the Steve Wonder-produced band MYX and his work with the world's first hip-hop magazine in the late 80s; to collaborating with his niece, the late Lisa Left Eye Lopez, to helping break Philly's newest up and coming bands, Dazz has continually sought out new sounds, situations and challenges. That drive has made this industry veteran one of the most sought after bassists in music today.
As a child, Dazz developed a deep interest in music. He played coronet in grade school. He also studied contrabass and piano at the renowned Settlement School of Music. Here, he had the opportunity to meet both Stanley Clarke and Alphonso Johnson - the electric bassists at the time - and promptly did what any other determined, headstrong kid would do: picked up the electric bass and never looked back. Philadelphia has always had a rich musical tradition and late seventies was a high point. Determined to soak up as much as he could, Dazz studied from, and played with, greats like Billy Johnson (Drummer w/Santana), Kevin Eubanks(The Tonite Show) and Joe Sudler(Joe Sudlers Swing Machine), Monette Sudler, to name a few. His musical curiosity flourished in this environment and it wasn't long before Dazz had developed into an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and writer.
He played bass for the house band on La Ferry (a Philly ferryboat entertainment complex), which eventually became MYX, the powerhouse group produced by Stevie Wonder.
MYX relocated to L.A., to be produced by Stevie Wonder. Dazzs’ reputation grew, and he soon met Hiram Hicks, manager for Bell Biv Devoe and Johnny Gill. Hicks recruited Dazz to work with his entertainment magazine, Hip Hop - the first of its kind. Dazz signed on as Art Director/Assistant Manager, working with Johnny Gill, Ice T, Houdini, Melly Mell, Bell Biv Devoe, Bobby Brown, Digital Underground, Run DMC and many others. After stints as a full-time writer/producer for Alpha International Records and The Entertainment Associates (DC), Dazz left to create something closer to his heart.
In 1990, he founded Eastside Productions, a production and artist management company dedicated to nurturing local talent.
Clients included - and still do - a who's who of local talent. As a producer, Dazz enjoys the opportunity to record and work with a variety of artists and genres. Even while running a successful business, it's still about the music. Dazz states, There are many artists I have recorded or produced just to help them out. Not because they paid me, because they needed a helping hand. I figured why not? Whatever you do comes back to you. After backing up - and producing - many artists like Freddie Hubbard, Tavares, Melba Moore, Breath Of Heaven, Maxwell, Sunni, Lorenzo,The Ebonys, The Delphonics, JazzCat, The Blue Notes and Al Green, Dazz has shifted focus onto getting his own music out there. He was nominated for MP3.com Grammy Awards (Best New Artist: Jazz and Best Jazz Song); featured on an Online Artist Network compilation CD, endorsed by U.S. Guitar Masters and Eden Electronics, and released his debut CD, Bottom Feeders Digest, in 2004.
Most recently, Dazz has been recording his second CD, with the help of Philly stalwarts Bill Simmons (violin), Wendell Sewell (guitar), Maurice Wilcher (keys) and Terrance Nelson (drums.) But as usual, Dazz is not satisfied with the same old, and is diving in head first with players and instruments he has never worked with (I bet this banjo player is sick is something he never thought he'd say - but he does have a slammin' guest banjo on one track.)
More than thirty years after he started on electric bass, Dazz still has the same passion, spirit and creative drive he had as a child. He may be playing each note like it's his last - but we're happy that there are many more to come. His current band is called All Up On It. The band plays standards, renditions of current hits, the classics as well as his original music. There is something for everyone. Check your local entertainment listings.
(By Paul Alloca, NYC)
Dazz currently has endorsement deals with U.S. Masters Guitar Works and Eden Electronics.