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Recreation Division
Recreation Division

Music in the Park / Jazz + R&B Performer's Bios

 

Janice Maxie Reid
Pianist / Singer / Musician / Educator / Bandleader
Janice Maxie Reid

Janice Maxie Reid, Berkeley born, pianist, singer and educator, has been singing and playing piano since the age of 4.  At age 13 she formed her own band and gospel choir. By age 20 she was touring with Berkeley’s own, jazz recording artist Rodney Franklin, opening for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Stephanie Mills and Roy Ayers.

Janice has shared the stage with international artists STING, The O’Jays, Narada Michael Walden, Randy Crawford, Lenny Williams, and Tony Lindsay from SANTANA. She has performed in major jazz festivals including the Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Fillmore Jazz Festival, Stone Soul Concerts, and the Day of the Song Festival in Adelaide, Australia.

Janice recently presented a sold-out Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley tribute show at the California Jazz Conservatory and appeared at the Taste of Oakland concert with Carlos Reyes & Toni, Tony, Tone’.

As one of the Bay Area’s top music educators, Janice has taught and mentored scores of Bay Area musicians, including Ledisi (pronounced: Leh-duh-see), Victoria Theodore, Sheila E’s saxophonist Eddie M., Kevin Choice and Michael Cheadle.

With a seasoned and solid command of the keyboards, a vast jazz repertoire, and a near 4-octave vocal range, Janice spiritually connects and captivates her audiences.  Her specifically formed 4-piece band, The Berkeley Jazz Collective, is a unique blend of veteran jazz musicians who are all Berkeley-born or Berkeley-schooled and features drummer, Mark Lee, bassist, Kenny Pruitt and saxophonist Vince Lars.       

Levi Seacer, Jr., 
Guitarist / Musician / Song Writer / Producer

Levi Seacer, Jr.

Levi Seacer, Jr., is an American Musician, Guitarists, Producer & Songwriter. He started playing guitar at age of 6, in his Grandmother’s church. After many years of practice and hard work, his playing caught the ears of the late great, "Don Cornelius", Pioneer of the hit Dance Show, "Soul Train". Don taught Levi, many aspects of the Music Business, which lead and prepared him to play for artists like Sheila E., He was tapped by Prince to form a new touring band after the demise of "The Revolution" in 1986, called "The New Power Generation". Levi became the band's bassist as well as a backing vocalist. He later, upon Prince's request, switched to his main instrument guitar. He was the only Prince band member to play multiple instruments.

Later, he began collaborating with Prince as a Songwriter and Co-Producer on his projects, as well as other Major Artists. During his years with Prince, Levi worked with many Gold and Platinum Artists, such as, The Time, The Jets, The Pointer Sisters, The Fine Young Cannibals, Jennifer Holiday, Tevin Campbell, Salt and Pepa, Johnny Lang, George Clinton, Gerald Austin, and Mavis Staples to name a few.

After leaving the Prince camp in 1993, He worked as Producer, Performer, Touring Musician, and Session Musician with various Artists, most notably Multi Grammy winning Artists Raphael Saadiq, Tony Toni Tone', El Debarge, Jody Watley,  and the 3x Grammy winning ensemble Sounds of Blackness, former artists of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Levi has also been voted as one of the Thousand Greatest Guitarists in the world.

Vincent Lars
Saxophonist / Educator / Song Writer / Producer

 Vincent Lars

 Vincent Lars was introduced to the saxophone at the age of 9 by his grandfather. He continued to play at Portola Jr. High School, where his music teacher, Mr. Charles Lord, encouraged him to audition for the UC Berkeley, Young Musicians Program. The Program was established for talented young students of music where Vince began to study jazz and classical music at the college level.

He continued with the UC Berkeley Music Program for four years while attending El Cerrito High School, where he excelled in music. As a freshman, he joined the Jazz Band and won a jazz soloist award at the Orange County Jazz Festival. Vince quickly became the leader of the jazz combo, which competed in numerous high school competitions. He led the El Cerrito Jazz Combo to its No. 2 ranking in the State of California High School Jazz competitions. Vince continued his love affair with music by playing in several Bay Area bands, with styles ranging from Reggae, Funk, Fusion, Classical, and Jazz.

In 1992, Vince earned his first notable musical opportunity and began to play with the R&B group, Tony, Toni, Tone. The "Tony's" soon hit the road with Janet Jackson and became her opening act! Vince's tour credits include: Tours: Tony, Toni, Tone's 1992 Tour; Janet Jackson's 1992 Tour; Eric Benet's 1998 Tour; Larry Graham's 2003 Tour; and The Family Stone's 2004 Tour. He has traveled the world from Japan to Europe and Russia experiencing cultural diversity on a grand scale. The social benefits of being a world traveler have significantly contributed to his skills in making positive connections with people from all walks of life. Vincent has recorded many producers, acclaimed musical groups and artists.


Dee Dee Simon, Soloist
Dee Dee Simon
You can purchase a Stradivarius violin or a Steinway grand piano, but you can never buy an instrument like Dee Dee Simon's. Her glorious voice is hers and hers alone and to hear it is to instantly fall in love with Simon and her five-octave range. Judges certainly have, leading to Simon's incredible record of accomplishment as the KBLX Who's Got Soul? Winner, top finisher of the Steve Harvey National Singing Competition and seven-time winner of the Bay Area Black Music Awards (including "Best Female Vocalist," "Best Live Performer," and "Entertainer of the Year.") She has graced the stage with super stars like Chaka Kahn , Faith, Freddie Jackson, Lenny William's, Cameo, and more. 

Derick Hughes, Singer /Songwriter
Derick Hughes

Derick Hughes combines a rich, five octave voice that comes with captivating stage presence. His development started as a performer in the Young Musician’s Program at the University of California in Berkeley CA. Derick Hughes is Blue Soul and comes from a legacy, highly talented Bay Area vocal performer, Freddie Hughes, his father.

Derick’s velvet -like background vocals have been heard in performances with other artists on tour and in recording projects with musicians such as Roberta Flack, Norman Connors who produced the hugely successful “ You Are My Starship” album in 1976, the one and only, Prince, New Power Generation, Tower of Power, and Michael Bolton. Todd Rudgren, Narda Michael Walden, Ann Nesby and Michael McDonald. Rev. Issac Douglas, Saundra Crouch, and Grammy Nominated The Gospel Hummingbirds.

Derick's musical abilities are only a stepping stone to his other talent, acting, he has been seen in stage plays such as “ Is My Living In Vain“, produced by Benny Rodgers. “God’s Trying To Tell You Something” and “Somebody Ought To Tell God Thank You” both written and produced by Delilah Williams. “When A Woman Is Fed Up” written and produced by David Toliver and "Brother Dap” written and produced by the late Fred Jackson. 



Omega Rae, Soloist
Omega Rae

Omega Rae captures audiences with her soulful tone and jazzy esthetic, honing a style uniquely her own. Applauded for her work across musical genres, Omega has recorded albums with neo-soul group Neomythic, Afro-Brazilian band Afro-Mystik and has gained national attention with DJ Andy Caldwell co-writing and singing on numerous Dance/Electronic releases. She has toured extensively and is currently working on her freshman album.

 

   

 

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