Prime Time Funk will debut a newly revamped lineup alongside familiar faces at its Innovation Square concert next month.
Since 1996, the 10-piece group has blended the genres of jazz, R&B, and funk to create high energy performances and songs from musicians across the Western New York area. It has played at venues including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris and the Rochester International Jazz Festival and also is the official house band of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame annual awards ceremonies at Eastman Theatre.
“We’ve gone through a few changes in our 27 years for sure, but this time, we have three amazing new members joining us at once and we’re really pumped,” says James Richmond, the band’s co-founder, singer, saxophonist, and arranger.
Joining Richmond and the other longtime PTF members—drummer David Cohen, keyboardist Andy Calabrese, guitarist Joe Chiappone, tenor saxophonist Mike Edwards, and trumpeters Ron D’Angelo and Derrick Lipp—are lead vocalist Shawn Powell, bassist Mark Terranova, and baritone saxophone player Dean Keller.
“When I got the call from James about this opportunity, the decision was a no-brainer,” says Powell, who has worked with musicians such as Alicia Keys and Earth Wind & Fire. “I am both honored and humbled to be joining this group of amazingly talented musicians.”
Powell himself has a history with the Rochester music scene, originally signing a contract with a production company based out of Rochester’s former Dajhelon Studios in the 1990s. He also has hosted local radio shows and currently serves as Worship Director at New Life Fellowship Ministries and performs with SHINE, a party and special events band.
The two other new members also have ties to Rochester. Keller, who has worked with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Temptations, Bobby Vinton and others, performs with two local groups, The Rita Collective and Dean Keller’s Soul Jazz Joint. Before becoming an in-demand studio bassist, Terranova studied with Mark Manetta and Fred Stone, two local music heavyweights.
According to PTF’s longtime members, the new additions have already inspired new energy and material for the group.
“We’ve been working hard to put this together for months now, so we’re really looking forward to April’s concert and hope our fans are too,” says the band’s co-leader, Dave Cohen.
“The energy in rehearsals has been electric, and I am so excited to hit the stage with the guys and share that electricity with the audience,” Powell adds.
Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].
Prime Time Funk is the heart and soul of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony. Year after year they have accompanied inductees and other national, international and local musicians at our ceremony and each year, they receive rave reviews from all. Another way to put it is, these guys can play and sing anything to excellence. Individually they are all world class musicians and world class people. They are also a staple in our community. People look forward to their shows and come out in masses to see them. Rochester is fortunate to have such a talented group of musicians. Welcome to the new PTF members. The Rochester Music Hall of Fame looks forward to another great performance at our 2023 induction ceremony in April.