Charles Carlton found his path to the guitar while studying chemistry in college. He began playing with one of the Southeast's top agency bands, The Mighty Majors. As a rhythm guitarist, he played primarily to pay tuition fees. A great side benefit was sharing the stage with top R&B headliners including Gladys Knight & The Pips, Gene Chandler, and The Delfonics. The Mighty Majors band was an “A-List” warm-up act!
Drafted into the Army, Charles spent two years as a US Army Bands guitarist and began his Jazz journey towards . . . The Edge! He relocated to the DMV in the mid 80’s, quickly formed The Charles Carlton Quartet, and gained a bit of notoriety in the DC nightlife scene in the bars of Adams Morgan, Georgetown, and Rhode Island Avenue NE for nearly twenty years. Today, he blends elements of other genres into Jazz because, in his own estimation, he has yet to reach The Edge.
Charles reflects that it all began when his college Physics instructor did a lecture on the acoustic principles that were responsible for the sound generated by a guitar string. "His talk left me so intrigued," he says, "that I purchased a used guitar from a local pawn shop. After decades exploring how to create sound on the guitar, all that I endeavor to do now is to help you feel something.”
Bernadette Lea’s vocal stylings are a wonderful collage of American Pop, Classical, Celtic, Secular, and Jazz traditions. In the 70’s, she began playing the acoustic guitar and singing. This led to nearly 30 years performing as a solo Contemporary Folk artist in the DMV. She was six years old when she first heard Ella Fitzgerald sing, and, even as she was singing Contemporary Folk, she always felt Lady Ella’s music and the lure of Jazz. By the 80’s, Bernadette was listening to many other Jazz vocalists and song stylists,as well as a galaxy of top Jazz instrumentalists. Clearly, she had begun her Jazz journey. Along the way, she would take a couple of years to study with Lisa Rich, one of Washington’s top-tier Jazz vocalists during the 80’s.
Emory Diggs began playing electric bass guitar jamming with other servicemen in German nightclubs while stationed in Europe. He taught himself music and performs on the upright bass as well. After leaving the military, he returned home to Washington DC and quickly put his new-found musical skills to work playing with Top 40, Jazz, R&B, and Contemporary Gospel bands. It is the steady quality of his playing across these styles that kept him working almost seven nights a week for various bands on-stage and in the studio.
One of Emory’s most memorable and cherished accomplishments was to record and perform in night clubs, bars, churches and music festivals with the late jazz guitarist Jerry Gordon. In addition, he recorded with “The Godfather Of GO-GO Music,” Chuck Brown, on two of Brown's Jazz CDs, Timeless (1998) and The Other Side (1992).
Emory has opened for and shared the stage with greats McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Smith, Ahmad Jamal, Dizzy Gillespie, Jean Carn, Rachelle Ferrell, and George Duke. Currently, he tours and performs with David Cole and The Main Street Blues Band.