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"Jazz the way YOU like it!"
The History of D-FOR
As individuals, the members of D-FOR have played, recorded with, or currently play for a veritable who's who of the music industry. This list of artists includes Gerald Veasley, Jill Scott, Yolanda Adams, Brian Culbertson, Maysa, BeBe Winans, Mary J. Blige, Kirk Franklin, Vivian Green, Hezehiah Walker,Michael Brecker, Pieces of a Dream, Randy Brecker, The Gabriel Hardeman Delegation, Miles Jaye and a host of others.
Like most musicians working in the same locale, their paths often crossed on concert stages or recording studios and in the informal but fierce jam sessions that are legendary in the Philadelphia area. No matter the genre of music, whether it was r&b or jazz, the musical and personal chemistry between them could not be denied. In 1995, the Gabriel Hardeman Delegation was ground zero for the creation of one the hottest jazz bands in Philly and New Jersey. Through a mutual fondness for fusion jazz (and live music, period), the Delegation band members joined forces to become D-FOR, showcasing an eclectic array of styles in the jazz lexicon, including straight ahead jazz, smooth jazz and fusion jazz, but not too far out to encompass a little gospel, funk, and blues in the mix. The founding members are Dexter Moore (keys/programming), Don Stevens, Jr. (bass), Dennis James (drums), and the late Darryl Johnson, Sr. (guitar). Sensing a missing link to their sound, the band auditioned for a sax player and brought on Carl Cox, Jr. (from Deptford, NJ) to front the band. They recorded and released the debut album "The Gift" in 2000. In 2003, Dennis stepped down and was replaced by New Jersey native Elwin "Chunky" Ezekiel, Jr. and is featured on their 2nd album "Intersection" (2005).
As fate would have it, Darryl Johnson, a founding member and the heart of the band, passed away due to complications from a brain infection in 2016. With such a huge loss to the brotherhood and their sound, D-FOR literally stopped performing altogether for a few years.
It wasn't until 2019 when the band started playing again at various events in the Philadelphia area. The band was getting those happy feelings again playing together, although it was rough at first not having their brother Darryl in their midst. However, it wasn't too long for the band to start thinking of seriously getting back in the studio. The band reunited to record their 3rd album, using their home studios and the internet to send tracks back and forth until everyone was pleased with the results. Mixed and mastered by Rich Waller, "Christmas From The Heart" was released in 2020 a few days before Christmas. Ray of Light Music, Inc. facilitated distribution of the album thru their connection with Sony Music. And with unfinished tracks on studio hard drives, the band has their eye on releasing more music, hopefully in the months to come.
Stay tuned for more details!
Our brother, Darryl...Rest in peace!