With a change in leadership, the addition of younger talent on the frontline and a unique five-piece horn section, the band formerly known as Tingum Dem has morphed and relaunched into Groove Quest (GQ), bringing to the Bahamian music industry originality, style and the fresh sounds of the 70s, 80s and beyond.
GQ, the newest versatile party band in the country, offers the sounds of rake ‘n’ scrape, Junkanoo, soca, Latin, reggae, funk, disco, R&B and jazz to satisfy its fan base and at the same time attract millennials through the introduction of a wider cross-section of music genres.
Now led by saxophonist Dion Turnquest, GQ kicked off its new sound on January 27 at its monthly Sunday Cool Down showcase at The Balmoral Club.
With the likes of CJ Priest, a solo recording artist known for both cover and original songs, up front, and more focus on upping the energy and the dance factor, Turnquest said the move to becoming GQ allows the band to continue to be relevant.
He said they looked at ways to improve their product, and one was to introduce more dancing and energy.
“Not that we were dead or anything, but that’s something we want to make sure we connect with our audience, so more dancing and more energy.”
Turnquest has taken over leadership from founding leader Fred Ferguson, who has moved out of the country.
Comprising GQ are Darrell Hurston, keyboard/musical director; Denteria Jackson; Patrea Gardiner; Donrica Burrows and Akeem “CJ Priest” Gardiner, vocals; Colin “Moe” Grant, drummer; Earl Forbes, bassist; Byron Thompson, keyboardist; Jawara Adams and D’Angelo “Boss” Moss, trumpet; Richard Sands, trombone; and Tino “Sheep” Richardson, saxophone.
“Because of his (Ferguson’s) move it was pretty much a business decision to change the name. Tingum Dem was pretty much predominantly known as an old-school band, but because of the inclusion of the younger talents, we’re including more of the modern sounds of today.”
For GQ that means introducing covers from artists such as Cardi B and Bruno Mars, and the like, in terms of what their fans want to dance to – music they would not have performed in the past, coupled with more up-to-date soca.
“So, all of our tunes that we’ve done – like the Earth, Wind & Fire stuff, they enjoy that, but nothing really gets them moving like the old rake ‘n’ scrape, soca and reggae, so we’ve added more stuff like that to our repertoire in the last two to three months. When Fred Ferguson was heading the group, he was known for being at the forefront of the music to promote rake ‘n’ scrape, and so we enjoyed that. Since his departure we’ve added more rake ‘n’ scrape. We don’t want to alienate those who already follow us, so you can expect more of the old-school grooves, but at the same time we’re branching out and added Cardi B songs and artists like Bruno Mars – that stuff that we wouldn’t have done in the past.”
Currently, GQ has a gig at the Balmoral Club one Sunday out of each month called the Sunday Cool Down. It initially started out as a second Sunday of the month event, but had to be moved around due to the band’s schedule. Their next Sunday Cool Down will be held on Sunday, February 17 at Balmoral.
Tingum Dem was created to back local artists during The Bahamas’ 30th Anniversary of Independence Concert. It consisted of a number of top musicians who performed in other bands. They came together to play, have fun and perform music at the highest level. It was a band that was influenced by the sounds of Bahamian artists as well as Earth Wind & Fire (an American band that has spanned musical genres) and all old-school artists.
Turnquest joined the band 10 years ago and over time has seen the faces of members change from its initial start-up.
The band still considers itself the premier party band, with a live sound that is still relevant, with the inclusion of some digital tools in their music.
“One of the main features in our band is our five-piece horn section which is a very rare thing today. Our band is 13 pieces and soon perhaps to be 14, so to have a five-piece band is something very rare, but our commitment to high-quality music keeps it at that size, and when we play a lot of people point that out as a main feature that attracts them; and so we remain encouraged and focused on keeping that,” he said.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.
Education: Saint Augustine’s College, BA in Mass Communication