New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Dedicated to their beloved mentor, Conrad O. Johnson, Sr., affectionately known as “Prof,” ThunderSOUL Orchestra has recorded a new album to be released by Suite 28 Records in September
From 1968 to 1977, Prof transformed the struggling Houston, TX Kashmere High School Stage Band into a world-renowned funk powerhouse. During this time, Prof broke the race-barrier and status-quo by placing his students in the fiercely competitive arena of national high school stage band competitions. Opposite of the established, conservative tone of these gatherings, Prof encouraged the Kashmere Stage Band to embrace their own style, introducing elaborate funk arrangements and showmanship. In the face of tremendous odds, the band went on to win prestigious awards and perform across the United States, Japan, and Europe.
ThunderSOUL Orchestra, an offshoot of alumni from the Kashmere Stage Band which still exist today, chose to title their new release “528-0728” because this was Prof’s home phone number. As teenagers, members of the Kashmere Stage Band would call Prof to get answers for personal concerns; to which he would always give sound advice without a prejudice ear.
Nearly 40 years later, alumni of the Kashmere Stage Band reunited to play a tribute concert for their former teacher and dynamic bandleader. The group rehearsed in the very same room where they practiced as teenagers and performed for the current student body at the very school where they made history decades earlier.
The “ThunderSOUL” documentary film captures this event, produced by Jamie Foxx
and released in 2010. The documentary allowed the music and experience of the Kashmere Stage Band to be shared with a wide, new audience.
With a strong focus on the transformative properties of music education, the group’s website reads: “ThunderSOUL Orchestra's mission is to educate, inform and enlighten educators, students and parents to the fact that dedication, commitment, focus and intent for our children’s Music
and Fine Arts training is of most importance. We believe that the power of music can and does; improve lives, smash barriers, inspire youth, establish legacies and motivate toward excellence. We believe that by encouraging students to participate in Music
and Fine Arts Programs along with their academic studies, we are developing not just excellent students, but interesting and talented members of society.”
Thanks to trumpeter Fernando Pullum, ThunderSOUL Orchestra has a special collaborative relationship with legendary band, Earth, Wind, & Fire. In addition to performing on “528-0728,” Pullum recently taught actor Don Cheadle to play trumpet for his role as Miles Davis in the biopic “Miles Ahead.” The “528-0728” project was also introduced to Jackson Browne’s Groove Masters Studio by Pullum. A passionate music education enthusiast and supporter himself, Browne donated studio time to further ThunderSOUL Orchestra’s mission to reach students with music.