Waters, growing up in Athens, GA, became a Christian at age 9 at a summer church
youth camp. At age 12, his grandmother purchased a bass guitar for him to play
under the stipulation that he play it in church. The church was game and so was
he. This initial experience of being a part of that small church rhythm section
began to whet his appetite for more musical expression and by age sixteen he
purchased a pedal steel
guitar from a local pawn shop and began playing it in church also, becoming
proficient enough on it to be asked to do some recording session work.
remained his instrument of choice until a close piano player friend of his
turned him on to the likes of Edwin Hawkins, Lari Goss and various jazz
keyboardists. Having been intrigued by the sweet chord voicings of these fine
musicians, he decided to shift his focus to the piano, playing for an occasional
group or soloist in church and learning all he could from other players.
While attending a local praise rally
with the church choir, Tony met a wonderful bass player named Alan
"Ace" Cooper. Also, while on a session date, he met one awesome
drummer in Charles Marvray. These men were not just
ordinary "church musicians", but
very well seasoned, "hip" Christian musicians, each in his own right.
Tony has found one of the roles he believes God has been calling him to for
quite awhile. That is of using the talents and abilities God has entrusted
him with to share the "Good News" of God's love and overcoming power
and to lift up praise and thanksgiving to Him through music and testimony
Cooper is a native Washingtonian. He began playing electric bass at age 11 after
being inspired by Earth, Wind and Fire's bass player, Verdine White.
major inspirations have come from artists in the contemporary music genre such
as Margaret Becker, Amy Grant, Tim Miner, White Heart, Bebe and Cece Winans and
Bryan Duncan. Ace is an EMG Active Pickups endorsee and uses Earnie Ball/Music
Man Basses and Trace Elliott Amplification.
was born and reared in the Sunshine State... in the "City of Five
grew up playing drums professionally with local Jazz and Pop bands, as well as
with a few Gospel music ministries. He later joined the U.S. Marine Drum &
Bugle Corps where he became percussion performer, percussion section leader,
arranger and composer for "The Commandants Own, U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle
Corps . He went on to become primary percussion instructor and percussion
department head for the Drum & Bugle Corps, Armed Forces School of Music,
and the percussion coordinator for the U.S. Naval Academy Drum & Bugle
Corps. He also served as professor of Music/Jazz Studies at The George
has played and recorded with many performers such as Kevin Campbell & the
Color of Sound, The Scott Harlan Group, Barbara Roy Gaskins, Leon Roberts and
Robert's Revival, Stickman, The Jerry Gordon Trio, and many more.
Pearl MLX drums, Paiste "signature" cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks.
has dedicated his life and his music to the glorification of Jesus Christ.
began at a very small Church of God congregation in Alexandria, Virginia - The
Filmore Avenue Church of God. Within these walls on a given Sunday, you would
find Musical Directress, Melanie Willets and keyboardist Tony
Waters, directing and accompanying a small enthusiastic Gospel
Choir...ushering in the Holy Spirit to a very welcomed and thirsty congregation.
1995, under the leadership of both Melanie and Tony, began its second steps in
recording the Choir. It was after an invitation of the Choir to minister at a
praise rally at Shiloh Baptist Church, on Duke St. in Alexandria, that Tony
observed the many performing choirs and musicians.... of note would be that of
Shiloh's bassist, Alan "Ace" Cooper.
properly organize the recording sessions, Tony and Melanie needed to acquire
additional musicians to complete the rhythm section. Impressed with Alan's
musical performance within the music ministry of Shiloh Baptist, Alan was
contacted and accepted the request to assist on Bass for the recording. The need
for a drummer was the next task at hand for the Filmore Staff.
was contracted for a studio session at Walton Recording, and later met Charles
Marvray, as he was also contracted for that session. The two quickly
developed a mutual musical respect for one another, and Charles was asked to
fill out the drum chair for the Filmore project. Guitarist Charles Wright would
also be recruited for his services.
new team of musician's quickly melded their individual talents into a tight-nit
rhythm section...the "Feeling" was in the air, that something special
could happen! What happen from that experience, was an occasional invited
attendance of Alan and Charles to perform in tandem with Tony at Filmore for the
Choir - as the Choir was now performing many of the selections from the
completed recording of "Give Him The Glory."
almost EVERY OCCASION the "Trio" got together to play...it was such a
special happening that the congregation would stay after Church had ended, just
to continue listening to the ingratiating stylings of the Guy's! One would often
hear impromptu arrangements of old Standard Hymns and current Gospel
interpretations. Sometimes, it was almost like a concert in and of itself....and
you add the fact that Melanie, an extremely talented vocalist, with plenty of
"Blow-you-away" vocal chops and personality to boot...would add her
angelic vocal touches - it was a SIGHT TO BEHOLD! And THAT'S when they KNEW
SOMETHING WAS HAPPENING AND THEY NEEDED TO PAY ATTENTION! Yes...God was moving
on each of them, and He was trying to tell them something! On a "certain
level," THEY LISTENED.... and ACTED!
got the "bright idea" that he wanted to record some of the things
they'd done at Church...so they did. In the process, the thought occurred that
they should REALLY DO SOMETHING with their work! So what was initially a project
of Tony's, it now became more of a "group effort" - the group SACRED
GROOVE was formed!
continuation of the now "SACRED GROOVE recording project," would cover
almost a three-year task effort. "Living Life" and its realities would
sometimes slow the process, but they continued to stick together.
the process, a contact with Varity Recording Artist, John P. Kee, was made.
Having heard most of the tracks on the CD, Reverend Kee invited the group down
to Charlotte, North Carolina, to visit and discuss possibilities. A tremendous
visit it was! The guy's visited one of Rev. Kee's studio's of which he was doing
work on another of his projects...the guy's got a very personal tour and
discussed Rev. Kee's interest in the group. The Guy's collectively decided to
return to the Washington Area and finish recording the other tracks at Walton
Recording, where they had begun. GOD was not ready for them to move just yet!
the Guy's would enter into the Gospel Music Association's
regional contest. They were chosen as one of eight finalists! Unfortunately, the
group would have to decline, as a major transition was about to occur - Tony had
a great opportunity to go back home with a great employment situation...an offer
he could not refuse. Disappointing as this was to Alan & Charles...they
rallied around their brother in support, and continued to maintain the integrity
of the group in it's recording stages nonetheless. God was in control, and HE
knew what He was doing.
the process of Tony's leaving for Atlanta, the group would perform sparingly
within the Washington/Baltimore Metro Area. Of note, was there performance at
Landsdowne Worship Center in Baltimore, MD..., which was now Melanie's new
Church. Melanie moved up the road with a great opportunity to become Lansdowne's
new Minister of Music - in KNOW TIME, Melanie had the choir in tip-top Praise
and Worship performance shape. So naturally, she invited her brother's to come
up and share in one of their celebrations.
concert appearance at "ST. Bernadine's Catholic Church" proved to be a
big step for the Guy's, as this would be the very first time they would minister
through their personal testimonies. Charles & Alan took the lead(s) in that
effort...hearts and souls were poured out in a very deep and personal way.
group also would perform at "Joe's Christian Coffee House," located
just outside of Baltimore. What a wonderful time that was...largely because it
was the first time in many month's that Melanie and the Guy's had gotten
together. Talk about a reunion! The rehearsal was too much ... emotions all over
the place - and so was the performance at Joe's.... talk about an anointing
being sent down? Tears of joy filled the room! AND GOD GOT ALL OF HIS PRAISE AND
group settled back down due to the distance of Tony being in Atlanta...they
concentrated more on finishing the production of the CD, which was now know as
"When 3 Become One." The title was a brainstorm of Alan's, and hit
them all as being THE ONE!
continued on...Charles & Alan, who both were members of the Shiloh Baptist
Church, continue to share their gift's with Shiloh's Music Ministry, as well as
with Carlton Burgess & Complete Praise, and also on occasion with Maureen
Freshhour of Chevy Chase Baptist Church.
performing with Maureen (Freshour) at "The BrickYard", Chevy Chase
Baptist Churchs Christian Coffee House.... Charles was asked to perform on
drums for another performing group to appear the same night. Charles, who was
attending the rehearsal with Maureen and Alan, had just received the news during
the rehearsal; he had to go back home prior to the performance.... chart out the
(5)songs for this group he'd be subbing for, and make it back to Chevy Chase
from Woodbridge...in (2)hours!!! Wheeewwww....but HE DID IT!
group was "The Praise Project," from Columbia, Maryland. Charles met
their leader, Chance Glenn after the performance and during the course of their
conversation possibilities of performing with the group on a regular basis as
well as talks about SG and their CD were covered.
had meetings together and discussed options....soon after, a union with
Morningbird and Chance, as well as the Praise Project, were made. And here they
are today...BLESSED with solid friendships and as business partners, all of whom
are dedicated to promoting God's message through music.
Records presents to you, in the spirit of Christ and ALL THAT IS GOOD....
GROOVE"...Tony Waters...Alan Cooper...and Charles Marvray
When 3 Become One
The mission of Morningbird is to bring
glory to God by composing, producing, promoting and distributing the music that
He inspires through His gifted vessels. Morningbird is authoring a new sound,
the Christ-Centered sound, which is diverse, and cuts across racial and
No, don't stop reading. I will not try to convert
you to christianization. Neither am I an confessing christ nor a missionary. But
Gospel Music with jazzy elements is a music genre, which is very near to Smooth
Jazz and should not be neglected. During my recent months I have come in contact
with Gospel Jazz or Christian Jazz tunes especially on mp3.com, which are
impressing professional. So now it's the time to tell you more about some of
Many groups originate in the framework of church-music.
Accompanying a church-choir or the church-community, artists find together and
are developping the idea of an own group. This is also the story of Sacred
Groove as you can read in their bio,
written with their own words. In July 2000 they released their debut record When
3 become one. Sacred Groove are Charles J. Marvray (drums),
Alan Ace Cooper (bass) and Tony Waters (keyboards
The intro tune Anointing
starts with Waters sensible key-strokes before Marvray and Ace add
their Groove. The tune is enriched with Charles Wright 's
beautiful guitar solo and Larry Seals furious saxophone play. The
tune is changing between slowtempo and uptempo phases.
Nothing But The Blood is
still carrying the carracteristic of a hymn, but Tony Water is
successful in transfering the hymn to a new jazzy arrangement.
Thine Own Way, also an arranged standard hymn, the group convinces even more with this transposition.
Melody Of Praise is obviously an
vocal hymn to praise God's greatness. Melanie Willets showcases
her vocal without expressing the content with words.
Impressing is the percussion intro and interludes
at The Den. An interesting Fusion Jazz piece with a strong melodic
line and funky attitude. Ace brilliants with skillful bass
runnings. Charles perfect drum solo follows. Wow, this tune alone is
enough to justify the buy of this album.
A phat slap bass combined with nice keyboard
riffs introduce to Heaven,
originally played by BeBe and Cece Winans 1988 on
Capitol Records, unforgetable and often copied. I must admit Heaven
is one of my favorite pieces and it's for me always a pleasure to hear new
renditions of this song, especially when it is played in such a perfect manner.
It'll Be Joy is the next uptempo
follow up. Al Williams on saxophone and Charles Wright on
guitar are accompanying the crew and Tony Waters masterfull keys
strikes. This is unblended pure Smooth Jazz as you will like it. You can hear
natural drums and bass and no audio control engineer reduces the sound.
Also a treat for the ears of Smooth Jazz fans is Stride
Of Life. An unblemished mixture between slow and uptempo, perfectly put
down in scene by the rhythm ace Charles.
Tis So Sweet is anew a modern
arrangement of a standard hymn. A slow tempo tune featuring Melanie
Willets on vocal. Sacred Groove turns back to it's roots.
Hard break, drums, guitar licks.. We reach the
final: Give Him The Glory! A melodic uptempo tune. There is no
doubt Sacred Groove is a professional Smooth Jazz group.
Well, if Gospel music is always sounding like
this, they have found a new fan.