September 29, 2010


Pianist, composer, arranger, producer and NAACP Image Award Nominee, Onaje Allan Gumbs was born September 3, 1949 in New York, New York and is one of the industry’s most respected and talented musical collaborators. He has worked for more than 30 years with an illustrious list of jazz,R&B and pop artists. In 1974, he created a special arrangement of “Stella By Starlight” for the New York Jazz Repertory Company as part of a concert honoring Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. He followed that with performances on albums by such artists as Woody Shaw (Moontrane), Buster Williams (Pinnacle), Cecil McBee (Mutima) and Betty Carter (Betty Carter). In 1975, Onaje joined forces with trumpeter Nat Adderley and his quintet, contributing to the group’s releases on Atlantic and Steeplechase Records.

Nils Winter of Steeplechase, upon hearing Onaje’s solo improvisations, invited the young pianist to record a solo piano album entitled Onaje (1976). Also in 1976, Onaje provided the arrangement on 'Betcha By Golly Wow' for the late vocalist Phillis Hyman. In 1978, the Woody Shaw Group, which Onaje contributed as pianist and as one of the composers, won the Down Beat Reader’s Poll for Jazz Group and for best jazz album, Rosewood. The album was later nominated for a Grammy. In 1985, Onaje lent his keyboard work and arrangement to "Lady in My Life" on guitarist Stanley Jordan’s enormously successful debut album, Magic Touch on Blue Note Records. This was the 1st jazz album in history to maintain the 1 spot atop Billboard Magazine’s jazz charts for more than 47 weeks.

In 1986 Onaje received the “Min-on Art Award” from the Soka Gakkai International" recognition of his great contribution to the promotion and development of a new musical movement for people with the aim of the creation of peace..." Previous recipients of this prestigious honor include Tina Turner, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Buster Williams. He received yet another award from the SGI while in Tokyo in 2005 along with Wayne Shorter, Buster Williams, Nestor Torres, Larry Coryell, Shunzo Ono and other professional members of the Arts Division of SGI.

Motivated by his goal for World Peace, he uses the practice of Nicherin Daishonin’s Buddhism as a philosophical, spiritual and technical approach to all of his projects. In addition to to the release of That Special Part of Me(1988), Dare to Dream(1991) and Return To Form (2003), he has an independently financed solo project for the 21st century, Remember Their Innocence(2005). Onaje has been featured twice on NPR Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland. He composed,arranged and performed the original score for a Showtime film directed by actor/producer, Danny Glover entitled “Override”(1994) and in 1997, he was conductor and arranger for vocalist Cassandra Wilson’s concert Travelin’ Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis. While on the subject of Miles, Onaje recently enjoyed the opportunity of playing some live engagements with trumpeter Wallace Roney who has the distinction of being the only jazz trumpeter personally mentored by Miles.

Onaje is also an integral part of ensembles, both recording and live headed up by the outstanding bassist and composer, Avery Sharpe, having so far recorded Dragonfly , Legends and Mentors and Autumn Moonlight.

He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Jazz category was for his independent project Remember Their Innocence.
received in 2006.

His current project, Sack Full of Dreams(2007) features singer, actor, producer, director Obba Babatunde singing the title track. It was also picked my Jazz Improv Magazine as one of the best jazz recordings of 2007.

In 2008, Onaje received the "Virtuoso Award" from the Noel Pointer Foundation, named after the late, great jazz violinist, Noel Pointer. Onaje performed live and on two recordings in the late 70s as keyboardist with Noel's ensemble. It was during that same period that Onaje was also the pianist with the Woody Shaw Quintet.

Onaje states, “Music has a healing force that is immeasurable and I am committed to being a part of that healing process.”

Yuma "Dr. Yew" Bellomee a.k.a. Yewmanyeti was born in Bronx, NY and raised there and Mt. Vernon, NY. As the son of a musician and a dancer, at an early age, he acquired a love and inclination for music, which rooted in African drumming, then later branched into learning keyboard & saxophone, writing poetry, and creating Hip Hop music. Yuma enjoys being a student of life, especially in the realms of health, nature, culture, and music.

He earned his certification in holistic health in 2007 and is now a registered Naturopath in the Washington, D.C. metro area and is also co-founder of Yew-360 Wholistic Health & Wellness ( along with his wife, "Dr. Sade" Bellomee. Yewmanyeti currently spends the majority of his time finding ways to infuse his life experiences with his diverse knowledge and musical talents to advocate living a healthier and more well-rounded lifestyle that will better his communities and beyond.

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