Ray Fuller and Eric Darius rock the 4th Annual 'A Taste of Soul'
Eric Darius - Malcolm Ali for Sentinel Ray Fuller - Malcolm Ali for Sentinel Ray Fuller and Eric Darius talk about the success of performing at the 2009'A Taste of Soul'
The 4th annual 'A Taste of Soul' festival was a success to say the least. Last year's event pulled in over 105, 000 people and its estimated that this year's festival pulled in a record number with over 110,000 people attending.
People from all areas and cultures came out to celebrate and experience the soul of Los Angeles. Crenshaw Boulevard featured vendors from all walks of life. The talk of this year's festival was the variety of awesome food prepared fresh and ready for enjoyment.
The highlight of this year's festival was the entertainment as 94.7 the Wave joined forces with the Sentinel to bring one of the hottest concerts of the year.
The 4th annual 'A Taste of Soul' festival featured three entertainment stages but none were more pleasurable than 94.7 the Wave's stage.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing two artists that were featured on the Wave stage. It was an absolute pleasure because I have the ultimate respect for both artists.
Guitarist Ray Fuller is a gentleman who shares compassion to constantly give of himself to those less fortunate.
Saxophonist Eric Darius at only 26 years of age I would have to say is one of the youngest jazz heavyweights out in the business. At this year's festival Darius sent the audience in frenzy when he grabbed his instrument and fearlessly walked into the crowd of adoring fans and serenaded the audience. Darius has a raw and kinetic energy that radiates through him with each note played. He slowly unveiled the beauty of his instrument and most definitely was the surprise act of the day.
Ray Fuller on the other hand did what he always does and that is he swooned the crowd at the 2009 'A Taste of Soul'. The highlight of his performance came when he performed a rendition of "if you really love me" by Stevie Wonder.
Ray Fuller was definitely easy going and I had the sense that he was just as mellow as his music. He reminded me of the "best friend" in a good movie. He was all charm, personable and I just had to respect the passion he shared for working with youth in his community. His last album 7/03 "The Defender" has a rating of 5 stars on Amazon.com.
Ray Fuller Q&A
Sentinel: How does taste of soul compare to other events that are going on in this country
Ray Fuller: I think it is beautiful. We got our people out here.... "All people out here" and it puts such a positive light on south central and the southern part of L.A. but I really would like to thank Mr. Blackwell for having me her, for being just a voice for real important issues that plagues us all. I actually work with a lot of abused children organizations I'M ON THE NATIONAL campaign. I really look for the opportunity to get our people involved with disadvantage children and I know that Mr. Bakewell is a big advocate so I am looking forward to speaking with him about that.
Sentinel: I noticed that the crowd really responded to your music especially, "If you really love me." Was Stevie Wonder a big influence?
Ray Fuller: I've been on over 400 records on a lot of other artists, I have supported a lot of careers it was a little challenging trying to find your own voice, to trust your voice, so the first thing I did was ... got these sounds that I have been hearing all my life like Stevie Wonder who pretty much covered everything. He had such a heavy influence that I couldn't get away from so I figured if you can't beat them, you join them. So I did that. "If you really love me"
Sentinel: Do you have a studio album coming out soon?
Ray Fuller: I do. It's entitled Epiphany and it is basically what we just talked about. I had an Epiphany in my life traveling all around the world, meeting so many different types of people, good people with good hearts that really want to change lives. I was one of those kids that came from the bowels of society. But because of a nurturing environment, a nurturing society that is similar to what you guys do. I am aware of all of your other outreaches. We don't pick our parents, we don't pick certain things. It's the community that comes together, pretty much like what the Sentinel does. It makes a difference to people like me.
Sentinel: You are from Chicago?
Ray Fuller: Yes, and we have our paper, Chicago Defender and it's the same thing. I was with Anita Baker and they brought me back. They did a beautiful thing by bringing me back to my community and honoring me, but what they did not realize is how much of an impact they had on our lives.
Sentinel: Anything you would like to say to the L.A crowd
Ray Fuller: Keep up the good work. Support your local organizations, support the Sentinel.
Eric Darius Q&A
Sentinel: Being a younger jazz artist how has this helped or hindered you in your career?
Eric Darius: Being that I am a younger artist I have definitely tried to embrace everybody, the older generation, the younger generation, I am trying to bridge that gap. I have been getting a lot of support from everybody. At this point I am definitely going to continue pushing the boundaries and hopefully everybody will continue to enjoy the music.
Sentinel: What's your background, where are you from?
Eric Darius: I live in Tampa FL. My dad is from Haiti and my mom is from Jamaica. So I have Caribbean roots.
Sentinel: How does this compare to other venues?
Eric Darius: This was an incredible venue, I did not know what to expect, I have never been here before. I have played for folks all over the world. The crowd is great but this has been one of the best. I feel really honored to be here. We had a great time.
Sentinel: How is L.A treating you?
Eric Darius: I love L.A. This is my home away from home. Every time I'm here they make me feel like I'm right at home. I love and appreciate everybody here.