Mwanza pic B.


BAND OF PROFESSIONALS (BOP) BOP is a multi-music genre band with the capability to play for any type of venue. The combined talents within this band guarantees an entertaining and exciting experience for the listener.

Mwanza Furaha - Lead Vocalist and Manager
Mwanza is a talented vocalist with an unlimited multi-genre repertoire which includes Jazz, Blues, Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae, Soul, Funk, Pop, Folk, Classical, Country, Gospel , Show Tunes and World Music. She is a seasoned professional who has wowed audiences in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the Phillippines Islands. Her live show continues to captivate and engage the listeners from beginning to end (as she is notorious for never releasing them from her irresistible charm until the peak of the performance). She is a true master of her craft and brings you back to the real essence of her roots with her heart-moving renditions of such classic hits as 'My Funny Valentine', 'Bai Mir Bistu Shen', 'Proud Mary', 'Moody's Mood' and more. She has shared the stage singing and acting with many famous legendary artists, Richard 'Groove' Holmes, Pharoah Sanders, John Handy, Eddie 'Snakepit' Edwards, Billy Ecktine, Merle Saunders, Maya Angelou, Betty Carter, Carmen McRae, Esther Phillips, Lou Rawls, Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers, Charli Persip, and Sun Ra to mention just a few.

Jef Labes - Piano & Vocals

Jef LabesJef has been performing as a singing pianist for decades with loyal followings in New York City (Hastings's, Top of the Gate, Dr. Generosity's, Sixish, Churchill's), Los Angeles (Sunset Hyatt, Airport Hyatt, Venice's Sidewalk Cafe, Nora's) and the Bay Area (Sonoma Mission Inn, Grand Hilton, Joe LoCoco's Ristorante, Saylor's Landing, Saylor's Restaurant, Bing Crosby's Restaurant & Piano Lounge, Izzy's Steak House Danville, Martuni's Piano Bar, The Curtain Call).

His experience as a pianist began in his early teens, playing for various singers in Boston. He entered the band scene working in bars and restaurants where people were always delighted with the addition of his voice. He has worked with several great singers of our time (Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Jesse Colin Young, Tim Hardin, Jonathan Edwards). He developed a personal style influenced by his associations. Some other influences: Mose Allison, Ray Charles, Dr. John, Richie Havens., Vocals.

Si Perkoff - San Francisco Bay Area Jazz Pianist, Teacher, and Composer

Si Perkoff.San Francisco Bay Area Jazz Pianist, Teacher, and Composer.

Si was born in St. Louis, Missouri and by the age of seven he started classical piano lessons. Since the early 1960s he has been a performing pianist on the Bay Area Jazz scene, beginning with two years as house pianist at the legendary Bop City. He is the musical director of Chuck Bernstein's Monk's Music Trio, which plays the compositions of Thelonious Monk. He appears frequently in the Bay Area with his own groups as well as those led by his son, Max Perkoff. He plays with Mal Sharpe's Big Money In Jazz Band, an informally traditional Dixieland group. He also plays with Johnny Bones and the Palace of Jazz, a Swing and Jump-Swing dance band. Much in demand as an accompanist for Jazz vocalists, Si often performs with Wanda Stafford, Margie Baker, Cami Thompson, Robin Gregory, Dale Zola, Jack Pollard and Les Bailey. He also sings and has recorded Si Sings.

Richard Howell - Sax


Richard Howell - World renowned saxophonist and producerAs a saxophonist, Richard Howell's spirited abilities have been mingled with the talents of Etta James, Chaka Khan, Maurice White, Della Reese, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor, Willie Bobo, Angela Bofeil, Narada Michael Walden, Buddy Guy, Charlie Musslewhite,Carlos Santana , Taj Mahal , Salif Keita, Toumani Diebate and the Motels among others. Mr. Howell has performed in such famous venues as the Tonight Show, Montreaux Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, the Royal Albert Hall and the Mali Music Conservatory Richard Howell is one of the premiere saxophonists in the Bay Area, often the first call for recordings, live shows, events and private parties. Not only according to critics, Richards live performances have been well received: "He embodies the simplicity of elegance..." ( Keith Hines, kcsm- the bay areas jazz station) "The charismatic, communicative Jazz saxophonist from San Francisco brings out the role of jazz as a grassroots art form.... Jazz expert or not, you can internalise the emotional effect" (Lionel Haas, Jazzradio 101.9 Berlin) As the founder of RC Howell Music and CEO-Wireonfire WebGroup Richard is responsible for countless productions available internationally through traditional outlets as well as electronic retailers. With a wide range of influences and an expansive gammut of experience, saxophonist Richard Howell truly brings a soulful, moving world of music to the stage.
Michael J. Ilnicki - Drums
Mike Ilnicki on Drums.Michael was born March 31, 1949 in Orange, NJ. In 1963, he began working with legendary drum instructor Muzzy Mazzoni and he introduced Mike to many drummers who dropped by the shop (Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson & Joe Morello). At age 13 he became a professional and began working at resorts throughout New Jersey and up state New York. A few years later he did studio work in New York playing on nine gold records and sessions with Nick Massi of the Four Seasons. Although he was a busy musician, he received a baseball scholarship from the University of Nebraska and continued to perform with a major revue, several local groups and touring acts. A year later (1970), while doing graduate and undergraduate work at Marshall University he was backing up performing on tour, The Sherrill's, Danny & the JR's, Lloyd Price and BB King.

Guest Artists/Musicians:

Rudi Mwongozi, Piano,
Julie Egger, Violin -
Kurt Huget, Guitar -

Paul Edwards, Bass, Vocals
William Vitt, Drums
Lucky Otis, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums, Vocals