"What's the deal, what's the fuss?
Where the heck did that sound come from that just
Welcome to the official Forte Jazz Band website.
We appreciate your visit and entrust that your stay here with
us will be as pleasant, informative, and jazzy as the Forte
Whether you're a current fan, newcomer, or really
just want to see what all the "fuss" is about, we want you
to sit back and share in the magical musical experience of
one of Virginia's hottest bands…Forte!
Forte Jazz Band is an eight-piece ensemble hailing
from Smithfield, VA. Formed in 1995, the group has performed
extensively for events ranging from hometown backyard barbecues to television appearances to
performing at the Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, VA in 2009 and 2013. Forte has also shared
the stage with nationally recognized artists such as
The Rippingtons, Eric Marienthal, Kim Waters, and CeCe Winans to name a few.
Also in 2009, the group had the opportunity to record an album entitled
"Left Behind - At the Train Station" and another in 2013 entitled "Chase the Rhythm." Forte members have also produced solo projects to include
bassist Daniel Quackenbush's 2008 release "Singlehanded" and saxophonist
Brian Pinner's 2009 release "Just Being Me."
Forte's success as a musical force stems from the group's passion
for creating quality musical performances that invite the
listener to share in Forte's love of the art, with innovative and
energetic performances as the trademark of the Forte experience.
Performing a wide variety of popular jazz music and original
compositions, and remaining a group of true friends, it is no wonder
that the group has been together making great music (with the original members) for almost 20 years.
Forte is a very versatile group. Whatever your
live musical needs, they can handle it. "We can play anything,
but we're primarily a jazz band, so if you want to have a
four-hour knock-down-drag-out Top 40 dance, we're not the
group for you," says saxophonist Brian Pinner. "But we've
been in many situations where functions have shifted gears
midstream and turned into a more "lively" situation. That's when we break out
our "funkmaster" hats and do what we have to do to keep the
patrons happy." You name it - solo saxophone, sax and keys,
trio with sax, keys, and drums, or full eight-piece band with
vocals, Forte can configure to fit your needs.
During the years that the group has
been together, Forte has performed for just about every
type of function imaginable. They’ve been involved
with television, radio, star-studded events, major corporate
affairs, and also events where they themselves were
the celebrities. In 2001, they shared top
billing at a concert featuring vibraphonist Roy Ayers
and that same year, released their first single on Arrow
Records titled “5 For 3 To 1 (We Three Kings).”
This first release received moderate airplay.
Also in 2002, they were chosen as the opening act for
crooner Will Downing. Pretty cool for a group of homeboys from small-town Smithfield.
Speaking of small towns, we would be remiss
to omit mention of the award winning high school band
and music programs at Smithfield and Surry High Schools
which produced five members of the Forte family. There
have been several directors at both schools over the
years, but both programs came into their own and flourished
in the late ‘70s and into the ‘80s under
the leadership of Mr. James E. Carver Jr. (Smithfield)
and Mr. George Fauntleroy (Surry), both Norfolk State
University graduates. Through their leadership, students
from all walks of life learned about music and many
valuable life concepts such as discipline, responsibility,
integrity, leadership, winning, AND losing. Forte would
like to thank everyone who contributed to and participated
in these organizations because we realize that the
concepts and valuable lessons learned in school contributed
greatly to the way Forte plays, works, sounds, and treats
our fellow man.
Although this early training has a lot
to do with what Forte is all about, there’s another
factor that is a large contributor to the aura surrounding
the group. A substantial faith base and spirituality
can be found throughout the Forte family. This faith-based
upbringing is evident in all of Forte’s endeavors.
As with any business, the music industry has its share
of questionable dealings. Forte is proud to say that
it conducts its business in an honest and straightforward
manner. “It has been said that we’re too
good to be true,” says Manager Brian Pinner, “because
we come at you straight and we’re always willing
to help.” This upbringing can also be heard in
Forte’s music where at anytime during a performance,
the group might break out into a rendition
of “Amazing Grace” or “Goin’
Up Yonder”. Also,
look into several area churches on any given Sunday
and you'll find group members in the ranks of the musicians. You’ll also
find the name Forte on church programs throughout Hampton
Roads. “We’re very proud of our spiritual
background and use the name Forte regardless of where
we’re playing,” says Jaymes. “We’ve
been the “house” band for several gospel
plays and a lot of people like our gospel music just as much
as our jazz. That’s probably because we grew
up in the Church and gospel music is a part of our lives
and everything we do. It comes out in our playing.”
The success and longevity of Forte come
as no surprise because the group is comprised of good musicians
and great friends with most everyone knowing at least one other member
even before the group was formed. Lets see, Pinner, Bradby, and
Ford attended Smithfield High. Rawlings and Newby attended Surry High.
Bradby, Rawlings, and Pinner attended Norfolk State. Bradby, Quackenbush,
and Pinner work together. Funny, but no one is quite sure where auxiliary
percussionist Mike Warren came from. He just showed
up at rehearsal one day after hearing about the group
and he’s been a permanent fixture ever since.
“We’re just glad he showed up,” says
drummer, Rawlings. One interesting point to note is
that Pinner and Jaymes’ fathers also attended
high school together back in the ‘50s and sang
bass together in an award-winning vocal ensemble during
that time. Now, that’s history that goes way back!
a Forte performance, it would be difficult to deny the
passion, depth, and musicality of this group. Their
training and dedication won’t allow anything else.
Still striving for excellence, Forte is looking to move to new heights.
Look out world, Forte is on a roll and won’t
stop until we get to the next destination…THE