Bios

Stephen Blaze
Drums

Stevie has been playing drums for over 30 years with various recording artists from numerous genres including jazz to country. He is very well versed in many styles of music: funk, R&B, smooth jazz, country, and contemporary gospel.

Stevie’s music career began in Philadelphia, PA at Sayer Jr. High School where he first started taking drum lessons. Stevie eventually moved to Upstate New York. During his junior and senior years at Elmira Free Academy in Elmira, NY, he studied music theory, contemporary, and classical music. After high school, Stevie joined The Young American Showcase in St. Petersburg, FL. where he played keyboards. Stevie returned to Philadelphia after completing his first national tour.

In the late 70's to early 80's, Stevie joined The "TKO" Show Band where he played keyboards and drums. He furthered pursued his musical education while studying, taking classes, and sitting in on sessions.

Stevie later moved to Buffalo, NY, where he continued playing keyboards and drums. After playing drums during several sessions, Stevie has been playing drums ever since. He studied with Dale Toliver, Tony Martucci, the late David Hall, and several top drummers, while striving to understand the fundamentals of each genre. In the late 90's to early 2000's, Stevie was the drummer and founding member of the original dangerous back door blues band "Couldn't Stand The Weather".

In 2001-2002, Stevie moved to the Washington, DC metropolitan area where he began playing with various artists and bands. After failing at several band projects, in 2013 Stevie formed the "Evolution Orange" Smooth R&B/Soul/Pop Live Show Band with singer songwriter/keyboardist Wes Glover and front man Rhashawn Sumlin. In 2014, the band grieved the unfortunate passing of Stevie's long-time friend and bassist, Russell Sledge. Later that year, Guitarist Doug Forsythe joined the band and the E.O. Groove was established.

Stevie has been playing contemporary gospel for several years and continues to worship with the Winning Souls Evangelistic Church Praise Team. He continues to study and practice playing the drums through the use of tapes, videos, and the Internet. Some of his favorites include Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, The Rippingtons, Santana, Average White Band, Level 42, Tower Of Power, and Prince. Over the past 10-15 years, while being saved and expressing his love for God, Stevie's passion for the drums continues to grow.

Kevin Carter
Bassist

Kevin was born and raised in Washington, DC. His musical journey began in the city where his mother would frequently take him to shows at the Howard Theater. There he observed many greats such as Chubby Checker, James Brown, and Otis Reading. It was here that he developed his interests into the world of music and entertainment. His first foray into learning an instrument came at eight years old when he started to play his uncle’s old and abused trumpet that he found in his grandparents' basement. Later, at the age of ten, he began to play clarinet at his grandfather's urging, which he continued with for three years. During those years, under tutelage from his music teacher, he was selected to play with the DC Youth Orchestra.

He picked up the guitar at thirteen years old, a decision which he never regretted. It wasn’t long after that he was experimenting with musical styles of the R&B artists of that era. When Kevin turned fourteen, he was introduced, by a friend, to Al Johnson, lead vocalist, songwriter, and founding member of the Unifics. Through this introduction, Kevin began to learn the requirements of becoming a professional musician. The training he received had a profound influence on the direction his musical journey would take.

In the late 70’s, the DC GoGo scene was in its early beginnings. Soon thereafter, he solicited a few friends from his neighborhood and founded the School Boys Band. The band quickly developed a significant loyal following and played some of the city’s largest venues such as the Howard Theater and Washington Coliseum. It was during this tenure with the band that afforded Kevin the opportunity to perform with national acts such as the Bar Kays, Millie Jackson, Chuck Brown, and Angie Stone.

After a brief hiatus from music to begin a family, Kevin returned to what his heart yearned for, playing music. This time his instrument of choice was the bass guitar. He started by playing in local churches where he learned and honed his craft with the likes of renowned blues guitarist, Chester “Memphis Gold” Chandler and jazz pianist and song writer Kim Jordan.

Kevin is keen to point out that everything he listens to directs his musical development in some way. However, he would certainly include Earth Wind and Fire, Cameo, The Eagles, Marcus Miller, Steely Dan, and Stevie Wonder as some of his greatest influences.

Douglas Kealoha Forsythe
Guitar

Doug is a native Hawaiian, born and raised in Honolulu.

He started performing in the Hawaiian dance clubs of the 1960s, moving to the islands’ great showbands – including Al Lopaka, Al Harrington, and Don Ho – in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Doug was the lead guitarist with Danny Kaleikini, Hawaii’s “Ambassador of Aloha,” and then spent much of the early 1990s in Hawaiian shows at Honolulu’s popular Waikiki hotels.

Doug moved to the mainland in 1996, and performed in wedding bands in Chicago, South Lake Tahoe, and Washington D.C. area.

Doug has been a popular instructor for many years, teaching guitar, bass, and ukulele wherever he has lived, and onboard ships for several cruise lines.

James Gilliam
Percussionist

In the 1970s, James 'Jumbe' Gilliam started his musical path in Philadelphia, PA as the original percussionist for “Sister Sledge”. He received his music education while attending the Settlement Music School and Cheyney State University where Dr. D. Jack Moses was the Director. Jumbe's list of mentors reads like a Who's Who List in the world of percussion: Doc Gibbs (Grover Washington, Jr.), Bobby Crowder (Kulu Mele), Robert Kenyatta (Wilson Pickett), Dr. Zak Diof (Oakland College), Bilal (Sobo Bade, Senegal West Africa), and Cuba's own Los Munequitos De Matanzas.

Jumbe eventually went on to play for Essra Mohawk, (Primordial Lover); Dexter Gilman Wansel, (The Sweetest Rain); and Ronnie Tyson of The Temptations. Since the 80’s he's been the lead percussionist for The Afro-One Dance Drama and Drum Theater in Mt. Laurel, NJ.

In 2000 he started playing drums and percussion for Soul In Motion West African Dance and Drum based in Montgomery County, MD. He currently facilitates many West African/Afro-Cuban drum circles and workshops: Leadership Montgomery, Howard County Senior Service, Reid Temple AME Church Summer Arts Camps and the Cornerstone Peaceful Bible Baptist Church Summer Arts Camp.

Jumbe is an original member of Traditional African-American Drum Society (TAADS) founded in 1993. TAADS is an an organization that practiced the folkloric musical traditions of West Africa, Cuba, Haiti, and Brazil.

His discography includes a varied list of projects: Mellow Fellows Reggae Band (1989); The Drum featuring Doc Long (1995); African Drum Medley, Soul In Motion (2004); Work In Progress, Thom Lorium Band (2013); and Brown's Town, Evolution Orange Band (2015).

Jumbe is currently a proud member of the Cornerstone Peaceful Bible Baptist Church Gospel Band.

Wes Glover
Keyboards
David Wesley Glover Jr, affectionately known as Wes Glover hails from the DC metropolitan area. Wes is a singer-songwriter and wrote his first song when he was 12 years of age. He sings and plays guitar and keyboards. Wes performed in Honolulu, Hawaii for a local band and also worked for K108 radio as an on-air personality where he was also a producer of 'Soul to go in Hawaii'. He's written and produced many commercial spots for various radio stations.
Rhashawn Sumlin
Vocals
Rhashawn Sumlin was born in Washington, DC in 1980. He has performed with a variety of singers in the local area. He got his start in church at the age of 15. From there, Rhashawn went to Eastern High School where he performed with such artists as Tremaine Hawkins and Shirley Caesar. He now is a music director at Mission of Love Outreach Ministries where he's exploring a gospel recording project. He has a vast octave range and a rough old time blues sound that takes you back to the old days of discos and blues alleys.
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For Booking Requests: Contact Stevie Blaze | email: stevie@theevolutionorangeband.com
t:301-455-7614 |
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