Local musician flies solo to find band of musical passions

After joining the Philadelphia Clef Club, a former flight attendant found refuge in banding together with Philadelphia and Baltimore talent.

Wheeling around a food cart in between the tight isles of an airplane was definitely not Terrell Guy’s ideal dream job. It took a national tragedy to make this former flight attendant decide to quit his nine-to-five job and pursue his musical career as a singer/songwriter.  Ever since 9/11, Guy’s voice left the loudspeaker of airplanes for the booming stages of the Philadelphia Clef Club.

“There are a lot of people working in jobs, just like I was in my flight attendant job, where that was just a nine-to-five – it was just a gig,” Guy said. “While I had the qualifications, that wasn’t my purpose. I feel intrinsically that [music] is a part of my purpose, and I’m fine with that. I want to inspire people and encourage them to do the same thing.”

Guy has linked up with his second-coming band, which consists of talented musicians from the Philadelphia and Baltimore area. The members include bassist and musical director Gary Groove, guitarist Blaq Mel, drummer Spyda, saxophonist and EWI player Rick Tate, trumpeter Charles A. Washington and back-up vocalist Marcus White.

Though the group has only been playing together for four months, their shared passion for music creates a sound that seems like they have been together for years.

“It’s only been a few months when we did that first show together [but] the vibe was uncanny,” White said. “It was almost like it was meant to be. There’s such a synergy when everyone gets together that is really harmonious.”

“It’s been a blessing to be a part of something with such musicians,” Tate added.

Though Guy originally became involved with music through his church, he branched out of the gospel genre when he grew interested in jazz.

“I was a church boy, but I was like the red-headed step child,” Guy said enthusiastically. “I knew that music was bigger than just church music so I sort of got away and got into jazz.”

His sparked interest for jazz and his desire to create a platform for himself as a musician led Guy to join the Philadelphia Clef Club. As a member, Guy began to produce his own show and began looking for talented band members interested in joining his musical endeavors.

During this search, Groove linked up with Guy through Facebook. Groove explained he was looking for musicians in Baltimore but was limited in artists because they all seemed to already have their own reputable players.

In search of his own platform, Groove decided that Philadelphia was a convenient-enough distance from Baltimore, which led him to peruse Guy’s Facebook page.  From there, the band started to form and eventually developed into its current state.

“The whole is only as good as all of its parts,” Guy said.  “I had to get great guys around me so I got in contact with these fellas. This opportunity with these guys really means something because it’s an opportunity and a special connection and [a] special sort of energy that we share between one another when we get together and play.”

Guy explained that the band is very fluid and incorporates a range of genres including R&B, jazz, Latin jazz and hip-hop. Though the group has many musical influences, a huge driving force behind the band is how greatly music can influence a person’s life.

“My inspiration is the power of what music does ultimately and that someone had to teach each of us what we do-someone started us all off,” Guy said. “Somebody taught that person who taught that person who taught that person. We want to inspire the next generation of great musicians and it starts right here at the world famous Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts.”

“[The Philly Clef Club] is the cornerstone for Philadelphia and jazz and some of the greats have come out of this place,” Guy said. “We are all glad to be members and very proud of this facility and glad to perform this effort as a fundraiser for them. The clef club promotes and nourishes talent and I want to help generate revenue [so] that they continue to prosper.”

The group said they hope to spread their love for music of all types and inspire people with their passion.

“I believe with being in line with your purpose and your destiny in life,” Guy said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are [or] what people think about you. I still believe that I can do this, and I am doing it. My inspiration is the power of what music does because music ultimately has the power to change our lives.”

Sheila Kane can be reached at sheila.kane@temple.edu.

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