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Essence

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Essence offers their clients a dazzling array of choices to accommodate any social event. From the acclaimed 6-piece variety band, founding member Kevin Brown can pare-down the band to a single, elegant classical instrumentalist, vocal duet, small cocktail-hour combo, or augment the group to a full 8-piece show band.

Essence is “one-of-a-kind”, they “have something for everyone”. And, each line-up offers a remarkable array of music, ranging from standards, classical, big-band, 60’s rock n’ roll, motown, Latin, reggae, disco, 90’s dance music as well as your favorite top-forty hits. They can keep the dance floor hopping all night, or provide just the right background music to create the perfect atmosphere you need. The band is well known in the industry for its professionalism, showmanship and incredible versatility.

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Kevin Brown: Bandleader, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Keyboards & GuitarKevin Brown began performing music at the age of seven and has touched all facets of the entertainment industry throughout his musical career. A degreed music theorist and composer, Kevin has written and recorded scores for advertising, film and popular music. In addition to his own compositions and recordings, he had produced and performed with countless other artists all across the country. As a vocalist and instrumentalist Kevin has brought real “soul” to his live performances, with a boundless versatility that is quite amazing. With Ess, he has developed and cultivated a truly original entertainment organization that really has “something for everyone.”
Keitha Sheppard : Lead VocalistAs a national recording artist with the female R&B vocal group Pure Soul, Keitha Sheppard’s personality, professionalism, and soulful vocal prowess brought her fans and accolades from all across the country. After recording and touring with the group for 5 years, she settled into the studio as a vocal arranger and backing vocalist for artist Kim Jordon’s many CD releases. Keitha has also been teaching music in the Prince Georges County School system for the past several years and is currently the vocal director of the teen performing arts troupe Colors. As the lead vocalist for Ess, Keitha has brought the band to new heights with her amazing voice, versatility, energy, and enthusiasm. Keitha Sheppard is the real thing!
Shawn Gross: Lead Vocals and PercussionSean Gross is the ultimate entertainer. As the front man/ lead vocalist for Essence he has captivated audiences with his stunning voice and virtuosity. Whether singing Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Frank Sinatra or Outkast, he always captures the heart of the original while still making each song his own. A true triple threat, Sean has worked as a vocalist and dancer on Showtime, CBS and NBC television, on the theatrical stage all over the country and has also garnered radio airplay with original R&B releases. He has wowed audiences on national tours, the BET Soundstage and The Kennedy Center. With Ess, Sean brings real heart and soul to every event. Sean Gross is an original, a natural, a pure joy to hear.
Jim Harrell: Guitar and VocalsJim is a truly enchanting guitarist. Whether playing jazz, classical, rock, pop, show music, blues or modern dance hits, he weaves real feeling and authenticity into every note. You’ll find yourself “mesmerized” by his mastery and originality. A well rounded musician with 25+ years of experience, he is quite adept at any style. Jim began playing music at the age of 12 and continued honing his craft throughout his years of music education at Towson State University. As a performer, private teacher and college instructor he has both entertained and inspired countless others. A revered veteran of the region’s music scene, he knows exactly what is needed for every situation. Jim has delighted audiences at private affairs, receptions, ceremonies, recitals, large scale concerts, nightclubs and exquisite restaurants. If you want to hear great guitar, played the way it was meant to be played, just listen to Jim Harrell.
Emory Mingee: Drums and Support Vocals “One of the best drummers in the Mid Atlantic”, Emory has been performing and recording for over two decades. He’s played with many top bands in the Baltimore/DC area over the years, and has garnered rave reviews along the way. In 1990 Emory opened his own recording studio and has both engineered and produced dozens of albums, some of which have gone on to receive national acclaim. With an independent recording contract, heavy college radio airplay, worldwide distribution and strong support from industry press, Emory’s original recordings and live performances have taken him all over the country. From San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Atlanta to the former PSI Net Stadium in Baltimore he has received glowing reviews from his peers and the media alike. As well know for his warmth and humor as his distinct, “in-the-pocket” playing style “Dr. Mingee” will keep you smiling, and make you want to dance!
Al Maniscalco: Baritone, Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophones, PercussionIn addition to his acclaimed work with Essence, Al has been making strong contributions to the mid-Atlantic jazz scene since moving to Baltimore in 1993. In 1994 he completed his studies earning a Master of Music degree from Towson State University. Now hailed as one of the regions top saxophonists, Al has achieved a substantial resume, including performance with Branford Marsalis, Tony Bennett, and Chuck Mangione. He has shared the stage with such popular favorites as The Temptations, Hal Linden, The Guy Lombardo Orchestra, The Shirelles and Little Anthony and the Imperials. In 1992, Al Maniscalco was selected WINNER of the Jazz Category in the Great South Florida Sound Search, sponsored by the Miami Herald, competing with over 600 contestants. To hear great saxophone, with true soul and harmonic mastery, listen to Al Maniscalco.