Raggs & The All Stars - Meet the Artists

Michael Harris -- Band Leader, Guitar & Vocals

With a decade-long career as a professional band leader and guitarist, Michael Harris has played with a variety of ensembles featuring some of the best musicians in the country. Well-versed in a vast array of musical styles including: Funk, Afro-Cuban, Bluegrass, Blues, R & B, Rock, Reggae, Brazilian, Pop, and Jazz, Michael Harris has the musicianship, poise, and professionalism to make every performance a unique and high-energy experience. He began Truth Groove in 1996, consistently packing nightclubs around the country until 2003, as demand rose to do exclusive private events nationally and internationally. In addition to his work as a guitarist, Michael is also a self-taught vocalist, with a great love for the sound and styles of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, and Taj Mahal.


Liz Briones – Lead vocals

Liz Briones has been captivating audiences locally and abroad with her soulful voice for over ten years. Originally from Ecuador, Liz grew up in the United States, developing an equal love for Latin and Brazilian music as well as for American Jazz, Pop, and R & B. A truly bilingual vocalist, Liz possesses a versatility which enables her to perform authentically in a wide range of musical styles, moving effortlessly from the sultry sounds of Jazz and R & B to the fiery rhythms of Salsa and Merengue. Her vocal excellence has taken her overseas to perform at top venues in Singapore, South America, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. She has been a member of Truth Groove since 2004, lending her dynamic talents to complete an already stellar cast of musicians.


Donald Tillery – Vocals & Trumpet

Combining the smooth, soulful vocal stylings of Luther Vandross, the raw power of James Brown, and the engaging showmanship of The Funkadelics, Donald Tillery is truly a force of nature on the stage. As one of the original members of Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers (he wrote and arranged all horns for Chuck Brown’s top 40 hits Bustin’ Loose and We Need Some Money), Donald has been packing night clubs across the country since the early 80’s. A highly charismatic and electric performer, Donald is renowned for his two-trumpet solos and his inspiring vocal displays. He has been a member of Truth Groove since its inception.


Wardell Howell -- Bass

Wardell Howell has been a highly-sought-after bassist on the national scene for the last twenty years and has been a member of Truth Groove since 1998. Completely self-taught, deeply rooted in the traditions of Jazz, Funk, Soul, Latin, and R & B, Wardell has performed all over the world, including touring and recording with Andy Milne and even performing for the troops in the Middle East.


Sam Prather -- Musical Director & Drums

Sam Prather epitomizes what it means to be a multifaceted musician. His music has taken him across the country and overseas performing with Shania Twain, Sugar Bear, and many other Jazz, Rock, Gospel and R & B, greats. He has joined Truth Groove in 2006 and has proven indispensable as musical director and drummer.


Bruno Lucini – Latin Percussion

Born and raised in Brazil, Bruno Lucini has been playing Latin Jazz, Salsa, Samba, since his earliest years. In 1999 he moved to the United States and has been touring with a variety of renowned ensembles including: Origem, Alfredo Mojica, Dani Cortaza, Tia Ferreira, Patrick deSantos, and many others. He has regularly appeared at concerts at venues such as The Kennedy Center in DC, the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD and many others. Bruno formally joined Truth Groove in 2008. A consummate professional, he brings a warm smile with him to every engagement, along with an amazing array of percussion instruments from all over the world.


Rick Parker – Horn Director & Trombone

“Rick Parker possesses the goods to make a difference within the global Jazz community.” (Glen Asitaria, JazzReview.com). Not yet 30 years of age, trombonist/composer Rick Parker has already begun to make a name for himself in the international Jazz world. A prolific composer, Rick Parker was chosen as the winner of the International ASCAP Young Jazz Award for 2004/2005 as well as for 2007/2008 — no small feat. This past year, Parker was featured in the “Players” section of the October, 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine, the foremost publication for all things Jazz. Rick joined Truth Groove in 2008 to arrange and direct the horn section for the full 10-piece ensemble.


Will Rast – Piano

Will Rast has played all over the world with artists as diverse as Federico Aubele, Natalia Clavier, Raheem DeVaughn, RAMP, and Mya. He is a notable fixture in the national Jazz scene and has worked with innumerable artists as a soloist, accompanist, arranger and composer. Will Rast is Truth Groove’s most recent addition and youngest member. Despite his youth, he shows mastery over all styles of popular music with an impressive resume to show for it.




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