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Me'Shell NdegéOcello Herbie Hancock Marcus Miller

Genres You Will Love
Jazz: Jazz Fusion Jazz: Jazz-Funk Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Type: Experimental Moods: Featuring Bass

By Location
United States - California - SF

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Gemini Soul feat. Ajamu Akinyele

Gemini Soul is an American jazz/funk/fusion band from the San Francisco Bay Area and assembled in 2005 by Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele and Jon Carl O’Bergh. Although widely associated with jazz music, the band’s sound incorporated funk and fusion elements. Gemini Soul has released six successful albums, and is known for its eclectic blend of jazz/funk/fusion with an electronic element known as “Cyber Jazz”.

With their motto, “Jazz for A New Generation,” Gemini Soul’s founding members joined forces in 2005 with the release of “A Cyber Jazz Holiday” and, in 2007, the band rose to fame with their second album ‘Liquid Soul’ giving fans the ultimate experience in a new direction in jazz...Cyber Jazz. The album was promoted with the singles “Gypsy”, “Fever”, “In the Mood”, “Kiss of Life”, “Evolution Part 2”, and “Lake Merritt”.

Gemini Soul’s third release ‘Live : The Liquid Soul Tour’ captured the band over several shows doing what they do best - performing live. Ajamu Akinyele's bass playing is in the style of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Meshell Ndegeocello - a sight to be seen live. Jon O'Bergh's keyboard stylings capture the elements of 70’s funk, reminiscent of Herbie Hancock. As a new member of the band, Andrew Foster’s percussion adds a satin groove, keeping the music smooth and sexy. The album includes a new song featured only during live performances “Ancestor’s Dub”. And, you can hear Gemini Soul bring the audience to their feet on the songs “Pandora's Boxx (Remix)” and the extended live version of “Supernova (Remix)”. This album is funky, jazzy, and sexy! This release has become a favorite amongst jazz critics, “Gemini Soul’s music is a conceptually innovative form of fusion not entirely unlike some of Herbie Hancock’s and Miles Davis’ material.” –JazzReview.

In 2008, Gemini Soul released their fourth album ‘The Nefertiti Xperience’. With the Sun Goddess and Queen Nefertiti of ancient Egypt as visual inspiration, the album was musically influenced by Herbie Hancock’s critically acclaimed jazz/fusion album ‘Head Hunters’ and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who continues to be Gemini Soul’s muse. ‘The Nefertiti Xperience’ featured the opening track “Sun Goddess” with its heavy clavichord funk and driving bass, guaranteed to make you dance. The song “Oliver Jones” was written in dedication to Ajamu Akinyele’s grandfather of the same name. “Black Venus” is a universal nod to love. The album was promoted with the singles “Sun Goddess”, “Radical”, “Nefertiti Xperience”, “Black Venus”, “Vertigo”, and “Sphinx”. In addition to percussionist Andrew Foster, drummer Alex Marks joined the band blending his influences of rock and funk/fusion, enhancing Gemini Soul’s Cyber Jazz sound. “The Nefertiti Xperience” debuted at #37 on the Amazon.com “Bestselling Hot New & Future Music Releases” and climbed to #15, out-performing a reissued Miles Davis album.

In 2009, Gemini Soul released their fifth album ‘Dark Skin Babies : The Movement’ and is the band’s most political and social conscience collection to date. The first half of the album has an experimental Latin jazz fusion flavor with songs like “Reparation”, “Dark Skin Babies : New Vibe”, and “Finger Print”; whereas the second half has more of a 70s jazz funk vibe in the likes of Return to Forever and Parliament-Funkadelic with songs like “Right On” and “O.C.S. (Only Child Syndrome).” Don't be surprised if you have one fist in the air by the end of the album, which also features the controversial songs “There’s No Money In Jazz” and “Pick It Up (America)”. But, in celebrating Barack Obama's presidency, Gemini Soul commemorates the Obama’s with songs “Barack & Michelle” and “The Movement Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.” The album was promoted with the singles “Dark Skin Babies”, “Al-Falaq 113”, “Chameleon”, “Revolution : Evolve”, and “Dark Skin Babies : New Vibe.” On the album, Gemini Soul invited Waahid Jones as a special guest to perform saxophone and additional percussion. This album isn’t just creatively innovative but a social consciousness of the times, reflecting and documenting a period from beginning to end that will be appreciated by lovers of real music without boundaries.

The world witnessed ‘Dark Skin Babies : The Movement’, which not only set an example of musicianship, but took the sound “Cyber Jazz” to another level. The album debuted at #13 on the Amazon.com “Bestselling Hot New & Future Music Releases”.

In 2015, after a six-year hiatus, Gemini Soul released the sexy, sultry, and sensual jazz album, ‘Willona’s Boutique’—the band’s final album. Inspired by the television show “Good Times” and the character Willona Woods, the song titles are words Willona has either said or themed episodes based around her character. ‘Willona’s Boutique’ embodies the horn arrangements of Miles Davis, the space synth sounds of Herbie Hancock, and combines the bass grooves of Esperanza Spalding. This album is more sophisticated than previous albums. With the absence of Andrew Foster and Alex Marks, the album was recorded with the two founding musicians Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele (bass, guitars, and keyboards) and Jon O’Bergh (piano, fender rhodes, and keyboards), along with additional support by The Nu Jazz Horns (horns), Earl Jones (percussion), and Dean “Stix” Jones (drums).

Although ‘Willona’s Boutique’ is the final recorded album for Gemini Soul, they still have lots of unreleased songs in the vault, which also consists of an unreleased album titled “Rebirth” that was originally going to be released in 2008 but, instead, the band released “The Nefertiti Xperience” (2008). However, the band’s leader Andre Akinyele stated, “who knows, I’ve learned that every time a musician states that it’s their final this or that, they always release something later. So, you never know, everyone likes a comeback! Maybe the Rebirth project was saved just for that reason.”

No matter what happens, Gemini Soul's unique sound “Cyber Jazz” continues to redefine jazz for a new generation.

Career Highlights:

* Gemini Soul’s music has been featured on the hit television shows Girlfriends, The Tony Danza Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Entertainment Tonight.

* Gemini Soul performed on the morning television show Sacramento & Co. (ABC affiliate KXTV) and various radio shows.

* Gemini Soul has been featured in the Abyss Jazz Magazine; Almaden Times Weekly; Vallejo Times Herald; East Bay Express; Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times and the Monterey County Herald, to name a few.

* Gemini Soul opened for Sheila E’s father the legendary Latin/Jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo at the 2007 San Jose Juneteenth Festival, where Mr. Escovedo stated, “Ajamu is one FUNKY bass player!”

* Gemini Soul has performed in some of the country’s most prestigious jazz and club venues such as Catalina Jazz Club and The Knitting Factory both in Hollywood, CA; The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA; The Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ; Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, CA; The Hedley Club Lounge, San Jose, CA; Shanghai 1930 Jazz Lounge, San Francisco, CA and many others.

* Gemini Soul’s discography has been recognized and added to Billboard and VH1, which is a huge accomplishment being independent artists.

Discography:

Willona’s Boutique (2015)

Dark Skin Babies : The Movement (2009)

The Nefertiti Xperience (2008)

Rebirth (unreleased)

Live : The Liquid Soul Tour (2007)

Liquid Soul (2007)

A Cyber Jazz Holiday (2005)


Fun Facts:

Origin: San Francisco Bay Area

Genres: Cyber Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Fusion, Electro

Labels: Pearl Jazz Recording Label, Orange River

Associated Acts: Jon O’Bergh, Ajamu Akinyele, Alex Marks, Andrew Foster, Waahid Jones

Ajamu Akinyele recorded as Marcel releasing five R&B/funk albums from 1998 to 2004. He’s had worldwide success with those releases, including in Europe, Japan, and Australia. He now records as Andre Akinyele.

He changed his birth name on his 32nd birthday, June 21, 2004, from “Andre Marcel Wilson” to “Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele” to reflect a more African heritage.

As Andre Akinyele, he has developed other ventures, including his Orange River enterprise that consists of a record label, book publishing company, and film studio. He produced albums for Jon O’Bergh. He is the bandleader, guitarist, bassist, and lead singer of the rock group Looking for Lester, working under the pseudonym Rebellion and producing the album under the name Messiah Superstar. He is also the lead singer, drum programmer, and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush, also working under the pseudonym Chambliss Charlie. He co-authored the book ‘Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello.’ Aside from music, he is also the owner of Akinyele Design Firm, which focuses on graphic design and visual arts. Also, he is the owner of Ajamu, a gaming and software development company. He authored the tech book ‘So, What’s the Big Deal About Scrum? A Methodology Handbook for Developers.’ In addition to holding an Associate's of Arts degree in Music Technology and a Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies, he also holds a Master's degree in Information Technology (IT): Software Engineering.

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