Born Allan Bentley Gumbs in Harlem, Onaje grew up in St. Albans, Queens, and started playing piano at age 7. Henry Mancini was one of his earliest and greatest influences from watching the TV shows "Peter Gunn" and "Mr Lucky" at age 8. Later, he studied at the Music and Art High School in Manhattan and was introduced by a classmate, Carl "Skip" Kirkland, to his father Leroy Kirkland, who had played with the Erskine Hawkins band, and who would come to mentor Onaje. He went on to study classical piano, composition, arranging and graduated with a degree in Education at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Onaje went on to play and record with such musican as Woody Shaw, Norman Conners, Kenny Burrell just to name a few. Our conversation was more than just about his music but his perspective on the culture of the music. This interview was recorded 12/20/13. Enjoy !!!!!!
Songs in order 1, Rahsaan's Run "Rosewood"(Woody Shaw) 2, No Question "Dare to Dream" 3,Shadwlight "Remember Their Innocence" 4, Lullaby for Mothers (Good Night) "Bloodlife" 5, Betcha by Golly Wow Legacy of Phyllis Hyman" 6, Why "Rosewod (WS)" 7, San Francisco "Bloodlife" 8, Cantaloupe Island "Sack Full of Dreams"
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