TMF isn’t a Tribute Band… THEY ARE THE BAND! These gentlemen with the exception of lead vocalist, Chris Walker toured and recorded with the man himself for the last two decades and beyond. Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing… TMF “The Music Forever”
Roame is the last remaining original member of the influential R&B band Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly and one of the seven founders of TMF. It was Roame that created the name “Maze” during the early days of the band. The group were playing in a nightclub in San Francisco when totally by chance, none other than the Legendary Singer/Songwriter Marvin Gaye was in attendance. Marvin absolutely loved the band, but hated their name at that time which was “Raw Soul”. Gaye quickly snapped the group up and took them on the road as his back up band. He also introduced them to Larkin Arnold at Capitol Records. Arnold signed them to their first major recording contract. Under the gun to change the band name as quickly as possible before the first album was released, Roame was the one that had the inspiration to call the band Maze. The name fit, and the rest as they say, is history.
As a toddler, Calvin used to beat on pots and pans with a confident rhythm, a playful foreshadowing of his chosen profession. At age five, he received his first drum set. When he was twelve, he recorded an album with the Napper Singers, a gospel group comprised of his mother and aunts. He began touring with them while still in his teens. Performing in the jazz band and local jazz groups dominated his high school years.
A resident of Winston-Salem, NC, Calvin counts his years on the road as his greatest professional achievement and responsible for instilling in him both discipline and endurance. Calvin has performed and recorded with a great variety of artists covering a wide range of musical styles such as John P. Kee and the New Life Community Choir, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, Lejeune Thompson, Hezekiah Walker, Rodney Bryant, Bishop T.D. Jakes Potter’s House Mass Choir, The Philadelphia Mass Choir, CeCe Winans, Stephanie Mills, Patti La Belle, Mike Phillips, Brian Simpson, Michael Manson, David Dyson, Lonnie Liston Smith, and many more.
Calvin is also a Grammy winning songwriter and producer who has three CD projects to his credit – Good Vibes (2015), Sticks Of Praise (1999) and Soul Rhythms (2005). He has two DVD projects as well – Diligent Hands (2004) and Rhythmic Inspiration (2007). Calvin has been the heartbeat of the Legendary R&B soul band Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly since September of 2010. Calvin’s GRAMMY Award came in 2005 for his participation as a musician on “Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs” by Donnie McClurkin.
Born and raised in Houston TX, Chris Walker began singing before he began speaking. He got his start in the church as a member of his family gospel group, The Walker Brothers, and started playing bass guitar at 8 years old. He plays the bass upside down like one of his early heroes; Jimi Hendrix did on the guitar. His musicianship garnered him a position as the Musical Director for R&B songstress Regina Belle as well as touring with Ornette Coleman. For two years, Chris juggled between the two artists. With his desire to sing more, he chose to stay with Ms. Belle, which ultimately led to a successful solo debut project on Pendulum Records.
Chris Walker’s first commercial release entitled, First Time produced two top five singles; “Giving You All My Love” and “Take Time,” which crossed over to become top 30 on the pop charts. His second release entitled Sincerely Yours, included the classic song, “How Do You Heal A Broken Heart,” written by Chris and Carole Bayer Sager. It has received over 60 million views on YouTube. His former teacher, Gil Goldstein brought to fruition a longtime dream of Walker’s to work with 7-time Grammy Award winner Al Jarreau. Chris worked with Al as his Musical Director, bassist and co-vocalist until Jarreau’s passing in 2017. Chris has been recently touring as George Benson’s bass player and he has now joined forces with TMF as their Lead Singer.
John “Jubu” Smith has worked as a valued sideman guitarist and singer for many years. He cut his teeth as a harmony vocalist in his father’s Oakland-based Gospel Quartet before adding bass, then guitar, to his responsibilities in the group. At age 19, he began playing guitar for the Oakland R&B band Tony Tony Tony, whose front man, Raphael Saadig, he’d known since both were kids playing on the local quartet circuit. Jubu spent a decade with the “Tonies” before going on the road for a year and a half with Whitney Houston. For the past 20+ years, he’s been touring internationally as the lead guitarist with Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly and now with TMF, Jubu is no longer a sideman, but a principle artist and business owner. His musical credits also include countless recording sessions with the likes of Luther Vandross,Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Toni Braxto, George Duke, and George Benson.
Jubu moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta with his wife and three children to establish himself as the front man of his own soul-blues band, Legally Blynd, a sextet that includes his brother Eric “Pik Funk” Smith (Rihanna’s bassist for the past eight years) and other group members who work as sidemen for Stevie Wonder and Raphael Saadiq. He’s cut way back on doing recording sessions, but he recently lent his considerable talents to projects for Eric Benet, and K. Michelle.
Vance “VT” Taylor:
They call him “The Maestro” which in Italian means distinguished musician. Vance Taylor’s mastery of the piano keyboard is truly unique and unparalleled. The Atlanta, Georgia native chose the piano as his instrument of choice and grew up playing in the church. “VT” has recorded and toured with Peabo Bryson, EWF, Tyler Perry, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, and was musical director for the legendary Miss Toni Braxton. Vance has also performed with Bob Hope, Elton John, George Howard, Aretha Franklin, Will Downing, Stanley Clarke, Roberta Flack, Kenny Lattimore, Chante Moore, After 7, and Cece Winans. Vance’s own solo contemporary Jazz/Funk CD is entitled, “Long Overdue”.
Daniel or “Spoon” as he is affectionately known, is the newest, former member of Maze and a founding member of TMF. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Daniel Weatherspoon is a Grammy and Dove Award-winning keyboardist, producer, composer, and musical director known for his passionate, jazz-influenced gospel and R&B. When not in the studio, he also serves on the staff of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Maryland. Raised in Chicago, Weatherspoon first began performing in church before launching his professional career. As a touring musician, he has shared the stage with such artists as Beyonce, Carl Thomas, BeBe & Ce Ce Winans and many others. He also has an extensive list of production credits, including collaborations with Vashawn Mitcell, Destiny’ Child, The Clark Sisters, Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers and more. He released his debut full-length album, Official in 2008. Weatherspoon returned in 2016 with The Langley Park Project featuring guest appearances from Tommy Sims, Leon Lacey, Javier and many others.
Larry “Bear Williams” Kimpel:
In 1978, Bear cut his musical teeth on the road as the bass player for Mavis Staples & The Staple Singers and in the recording studios of Chicago, Illinois where he grew up. The youngest of four siblings, Bear’s very first recording sessions came via his High School Band Director, George “Tan” Hunter. Those sessions ended up being classic recordings by Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler, Jerry Butler, and Dame Shirley Bassey.
As Bass Player and Musical Director for Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly Bear enjoyed a 20 year run with the Iconic Soul Band from the streets of Philadelphia, PA. Now that that chapter of his life has come to a close, Bear is excited to be carrying on the rich legacy of Maze while taking the music to a whole other level within TMF.
Bear has both recorded and toured with musical Icons like Steve Perry of Journey, Babyface, Whitney Houston, George Duke, Alanis Morrisette, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, Bobby Caldwell, James Ingram, Joe Cocker, Al Jarreau, and many more. In 2017, Bear formed The Bear Williams Band www.BearWilliamsMusic.com.
Since its founding, Bear has released one full length album, an EP and a plethora of powerful singles all on his own independent label, GVR Records distributed via Razors Edge/INGrooves/Universal Music.