There are some great local bands in Queen Anne’s County and surrounds and one you must see and hear is Smooth Play. Incorporating jazz, R & B, Latin and neo-soul, founder and bassist Vaughn Bratcher and co-founder and keyboardist Dallas Pace formed the group in 2003, picking up vocalist Cassie Wilson round out Smooth Play’s sound beautifully.
Bratcher picked up his first electric bass guitar at the age of thirteen and quickly joined a family teen group, church groups, and R & B bands. Influenced by Larry Graham, Stanley Clark, Jaco Pastorius, and Anthony Jackson, he recorded and produced his own CD, “The Pleasure’s Yours,” which received air play around the Mid-Atlantic region.
Though he started his musical life playing French horn in his junior high school concert band, Pace soon learned to play guitar, trumpet, and drums. Two years later he found his true love, the piano and began lessons with contemporary jazz pianist, Vernon Sparks, Jr. His college career included studies in physics and electrical engineering, as well as playing traditional jazz piano with the college’s 34-piece jazz ensemble. This renowned group gave him unthinkable opportunities where he played with legendary jazz artists, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Betty Carter.
Another early musician, Snyder began playing clarinet at age 10 through his school music program, before picking up private lessons with Marty Caruso. An accomplished classical artist and performer, he returns time and again to his love of jazz.
Drummer Allen, also known as G.W., started his music career at age 16 as lead drummer for his church’s music ministry. That solid start has taken him across the globe to play with influential gospel artists such as Bobby Jones, Richard Smallwood, Daryl Coley, Smokie Norful, and Tramaine Hawkins. His jazz credits include work with Wayman Tisdale, Marion Meadows and Kurt Whalum.
Honing her vocal skills in her church choir, vocalist Wilson originally hails from Indianapolis. After spending time as a singer in a reggae group she met up with Smooth Play and quickly became an integral part of the group. She has a wide vocal range and delivers sultry, emotional renditions of R & B, neo-soul, and smooth jazz tunes.
The band has performed regionally in a number of venues including the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival; the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Rams Head Tavern and Dover Downs. Their first CD is scheduled for release this fall.
This concert will be held on Thursday, July 24 at the Chesapeake Exploration Center in Chester, Maryland. The Thursdays in the Park series is presented by the Queen Anne’s County Arts Council, the Maryland States Arts Council, and the United Way of Queen Anne’s County. Bring blankets or chairs; concert goers may bring in picnic fare. The performance begins at 7 pm and will be held rain or shine. Contact the Arts Council regarding cancellations in the event of extreme weather conditions or alerts. For additional information or to receive a concert schedule call 410-758-2520 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org