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Gemini Soul

Dark Skin Babies : The Movement

by Gemini Soul feat. Ajamu Akinyele

Released 2009
Pearl Jazz Recording Label
Released 2009
Pearl Jazz Recording Label
Influenced by Herbie Hancock, Return to Forever, Parliament-Funkadelic and the bass funk of Marcus Miller, this album is a mind-blowing mix of experimental jazz/funk fusion that musically explores the 70s jazz fusion movement.
NOTES
‘Dark Skin Babies : The Movement’ is an experimental jazz funk-fusion album from Gemini Soul, and is the bands most political and social conscience collection to date. ‘Dark Skin Babies : The Movement’ is the follow-up to their 2008 critically acclaimed release ‘The Nefertiti Xperience,’ and marks as the fifth Gemini Soul project. The album features three cover songs Meshell Ndegeocello's "Al-Falaq 113," Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon," and Prince's "All The Critics Love You In New York." Gemini Soul makes each song their own by infusing what they call the "Cyber Jazz" sound, which is a blend of jazz funk-fusion with an electronic element.

The first half of the album has more of an experimental Latin jazz fusion flavor with songs like "Reparation," "Dark Skin Babies: New Vibe," and "Finger Print;" whereas the second half has more of a 70s jazz funk vibe in the likes of Return to Forever and Parliament-Funkadelic with songs like "Right On" and "O.C.S. (Only Child Syndrome)." Don't be surprised if you have one fist in the air by the end of the album. The album also features the controversial songs “There’s No Money In Jazz” and “Pick It Up (America).” But, in celebrating Barack Obama's presidency, Gemini Soul commemorates the Obama’s with songs "Barack & Michelle" and "The Movement Pt. 1 and Pt. 2."

The album was promoted with the singles “Dark Skin Babies”, “Al-Falaq 113”, “Chameleon”, “Revolution: Evolve”, and “Dark Skin Babies: New Vibe.”

Gemini Soul (Andre Ajamu Akinyele, Jon O'Bergh, Andrew Foster and Alex Marks) have expanded once again by adding special guest Waahid Jones on saxophone and additional percussion.

This album isn't just creatively innovative but a social consciousness of the times, reflecting and documenting a period from beginning to end that will be appreciated by lovers of real music without boundaries...artists and likeminded individuals who think outside the box. Gemini Soul and their sound “Cyber Jazz” continues to redefine jazz for a new generation. Gemini Soul's music isn't your typical jazz; it's Cyber Jazz!

Who is Gemini Soul?

Gemini Soul (Andrè Ajamu Akinyele – bass, guitar, piano, keyboards & drum programming; Jon O'Bergh – piano, keyboards & programming; Andrew Foster – percussion; Alex Marks – drums; and special guest Waahid Jones - saxophone & percussion) originating from the San Francisco bay area are known for their eclectic blend of jazz/funk fusion with an electronic element known as "Cyber Jazz."

Producer, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele, pronounced Ah-jah-moo + Ah-kin-yay-lay, recorded as Marcel releasing five R&B/Funk albums from 1998 to 2004. He's had worldwide success with those releases, including in Europe, Japan, and Australia. As Ajamu Akinyele, he released ‘Supernova’ (2005) and the critically acclaimed ‘Black Magic The Cyber Jazz Experience’ (2006), both Jazz/Funk/Fusion albums, that established him as a true contender in the jazz industry.

Jon Carl O'Bergh has written and produced several albums including ‘Carta’ reaching #1 nationwide on the NAV chart; ‘Meditations from a Lost World’ which reached #3; and ‘Millennial Landscapes’ which reached #2. He also co-produced songs with Marcel, now known as Ajamu Akinyele, on his 2003 release ‘Uptown : 2025 A.D.’ and for R&B recording artist Jarrod on his debut album ‘Every Part of Me’.

Andrew Foster grew up in the early seventies listening to many styles of jazz including Brazilian and traditional, which inspired him to become a percussionist. He met with producer/bassist Ajamu Akinyele one evening after a Gemini Soul show and the rest is history. Andrew recalls during the first jam session, “It was like magic playing with Ajamu and Jon…it just came naturally.”

Alex Marks is influenced by drummer David Silveria from the rock band Korn, and the drummer John Bonham from the 70s rock band Led - Zeppelin. So, why jazz? His first drum teacher suggested that he listen and learn from the music and styling of Miles Davis, Tower of Power and John Coltrane. Also, his music teacher wanted to encourage him to play different styles of music, making him a well-rounded musician. He loves funk, fusion and Latin jazz. By joining Gemini Soul, he brings his influences of rock and funk/fusion, enhancing Gemini Soul's Cyber Jazz experience.

Waahid Jones, originally from St. Louis, MO, has been playing percussion for over 20 years. His musical influences include Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Kenneth Nash and Bill Summers, to name a few. Waahid has played and performed with some top contenders in the music industry such as El Debarge and Maestro Brian - who recorded on Maurice White’s (Earth, Wind & Fire) record label - Kalimba Records. Gemini Soul met with percussionist/saxophonist Jones at one of their shows and, later that year, Jones sat in with the band performing a few dates here and there. By the end of that year, Jones found himself recording music with them.

Gemini Soul’s sound “Cyber Jazz” is a blend of jazz/funk fusion and reflects the influences of bassists Meshell Ndegeocello and Stanley Clarke, the funk fusion of jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and the pop funk jazz fusion of Miles Davis.

Gemini Soul has been featured on the morning television show Sacramento & Co., (ABC affiliate KXTV) and various radio shows throughout the country. Their music has been featured on the hit television shows Girlfriends, The Tony Danza Show, and Entertainment Tonight. They had the privilege of opening for Sheila E's father Pete Escovedo at the 2007 San Jose Juneteenth Festival. Pete Escovedo said, "Ajamu is one FUNKY bass player!"

Gemini Soul has performed in some of the country's most prestigious jazz and club venues such as Catalina Jazz Club and The Knitting Factory both in Hollywood, CA; The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA; The Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ; Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, CA; The Hedley Club Lounge, San Jose, CA; Shanghai 1930 Jazz Lounge, San Francisco, CA and many others.

Gemini Soul has been a “Featured Artist” in the Abyss Jazz Magazine; Almaden Times Weekly; Vallejo Times Herald; East Bay Express; Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times and the Monterey County Herald, to name a few.

Gemini Soul's discography has been recognized and added to Billboard and VH1, which is a huge accomplishment being independent artists.

As Gemini Soul, their entire catalog from 2005–2015 can be purchased right here at CD Baby, so look for the following titles:

A Cyber Jazz Holiday "2005"

Liquid Soul "2007"

Live : The Liquid Soul Tour “2007”

The Nefertiti Xperience “2008”

Dark Skin Babies : The Movement “2009”

Willona’s Boutique “2015” (Their last recording as Gemini Soul)

Fun Facts:

Ajamu Akinyele has recorded under numerous names including Michael Angelo (in 1989 releasing a single titled "Brina Brown" in Europe) and Marcel as an R&B/Funk artist. His last recording under the moniker Marcel was 2004's 'Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2.' He was also the bandleader of the jazz/funk/fusion band Gemini Soul. He now records as Andre Akinyele.

He changed his birth name on his 32nd birthday, June 21, 2004, from ‘Andre Marcel Wilson’ to ‘Andre Marcel Ajamu Akinyele’ to reflect a more African heritage. Also, in changing his name, he wanted to depart from the Prince influenced sound to a more self-defined sound to honor his grandmother. Thus, “Cyber Jazz” and the Pearl Jazz Recording Label was born. After the release of the ‘Secret Weapon’ album, he formed the jazz/funk/fusion band Gemini Soul and began recording as Ajamu Akinyele. He would not return to the Prince influenced sound until the release of his 2012 album ‘The Potomac Syndrome’ as Andre Akinyele.

As Andre Akinyele, he has developed other ventures, including his Orange River enterprise that consists of a record label, book publishing company, and film studio. He produced albums for Jon O’Bergh. He is the bandleader, guitarist, bassist, and lead singer of the rock group Looking for Lester, working under the pseudonym Rebellion and producing the album under the name Messiah Superstar. He is also the lead singer, drum programmer, and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush, also working under the pseudonym Chambliss Charlie. He co-authored the book ‘Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello.’ Aside from music, he is also the owner of Akinyele Design Firm, which focuses on graphic design and visual arts. Also, he is the owner of Ajamu, a gaming and software development company. He authored the tech book ‘So, What’s the Big Deal About Scrum? A Methodology Handbook for Developers.’ In addition to holding an Associate's of Arts degree in Music Technology and a Bachelor's degree in Legal Studies, he also holds a Master's degree in Information Technology (IT): Software Engineering.

About

Multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer André Akinyele has recorded under the names Marcel and Ajamu Akinyele, exploring multiple music genres. He is the bandleader and bassist of the jazz/funk fusion band Gemini Soul, the vocalist and guitarist for the rock band Looking for Lester, as well as the vocalist and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush. He is also the co-author of the book Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello.

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