Maze featuring Frankie Beverly has established a trust fund with music lovers worldwide. Fans know when they attend a Maze concert they will be treated to an evening of honest, raw soul music.
And that's how it has been for more than 40 years. Nothing has changed. The band has stayed in its lane, continuing to do its thing, bringing quality music from the heart night after night.
It is the band members' honesty and brilliant artistry that has allowed them to continue to headline at top concert venue across the globe. There are no gimmicks, no stage tricks in their shows. Just Beverly with his smooth, soulful vocals supported by the tight Maze band.
"They know what they are going to get with us," says Beverly of the group's audiences. "They trust us as musicians. You've got to be a good live act. You've got to know how to entertain. It goes beyond having hit records. You have to know how to present the music on stage."
Beverly notes, "Our honesty comes through. We don't compromise on being honest with our music and being honest with our approach to our music. We are honest with our fans and I hate to use that word 'fans,' because they are more than that to us. They are our family. They believe in us night after night year after year. And you can't ever lose with your family’s support and love. And we recognize that and love them for loving us."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly arrived on the scene in 1977 with a string of hits including "Happy Feelings," "Lady of Magic," "While I’m Alone," and "Workin' Together." And the soul classics continued with "Golden Time Of Day," "Southern Girl," "Joy and Pain," "We Are One," "Running Away," "Back In Stride," "Can't Get Over You," "Silky Soul," and "The Morning After."
The essential must-have Maze albums include Joy and Pain (1980), Live In New Orleans (1981), We Are One (1983), Can't Stop the Love (1985) and Live in Los Angeles (1986). Maze was saluted by Mary J. Blige, Avant, Ledisi, and other acts on the 2009 hit CD Silky Soul Music: An All-Star Tribute To Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly.
Beverly reveals that while he loves singing all of the favorites in concert, he particularly enjoys performing "We Are One" and "Joy and Pain."
"They have a special place in my heart. 'We Are One' jumps out at me every night. People react the same way. They recognize the song's truth. I see them look at each other and say, 'Wow, we are one, you are right.' I just love what that song does to people, how it unites us all. That song moves me and turns into a spiritual thing."
Turning to "Joy and Pain," the music master notes, "You can't have a mountain without a valley, they are one in the same. If you've got flowers, you've got to have rain. Pretty flowers don’t grow without some rain." He was inspired to write the tune after reading philosopher-poet Kahlil Gibran's masterpiece, The Prophet, that includes the chapter, "On Joy And Sorrow."
Maze's fans are familiar with the band's rise to fame. A native of Philadelphia, Beverly grew up singing in church and later formed a group called The Butlers when he was a teenager. He later changed the name to Frankie Beverly's Raw Soul.
The band's star began to rise in the mid-70s when Marvin Gaye caught their show in the San Francisco/Oakland area. He took them on the road as his opening act and urged them to change their name from Raw Soul. Original member Roame came up with the name Maze and the rest, as they say, is musical history.
The other original Maze member was the late McKinley "Bug" Williams who played percussions and sang background. Williams died in 2011.
"Bug was my brother," recalls Beverly. "He was with me for 50 years. We were 15 and 16 when we met. He was an excellent, schooled musician, top of the line. He knew music. He was the father of the band, very much like the guardian of the band. He was very strong-willed and very well-respected. He was a good person; he kept the band in line. Someone asked me if I was going to replace him. I said, 'That's impossible, there is no replacing Bug.' We started out as seven back in Philly and we are now back to seven. And I really feel that's the way it should be. I love my brother, Bug, and miss him so much. But thankfully he is still very much in our music night after night."
Beverly loves to talk about two of his biggest inspirations — Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke. "I was Frankie Lymon crazy when he came on the scene. People would call me 'Little Frankie.' My name is Howard, but I took the name Frankie from Frankie Lymon. I used to sing Frankie Lymon songs on street corners. People use to throw me money," he recalls.
Beverly says he will never forget meeting Sam Cooke at Philly's Uptown Theater. "We were trying to get his autograph. We said, 'Mr. Cooke, Mr. Cooke, can you sign mine?' He said, 'Have you guys ever been backstage?' Well, come on."
Cooke treated Beverly and his friends "like we were his kids." That chance meeting had a tremendous impact on Beverly. To this day, he always makes time for his fans. "I don't turn people down. I always think of Sam Cooke and how kind and patient he was. He didn't have to do that for us."
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly:
Frankie Beverly (lead vocals)
Roame (congas/ background vocals)
Carl Wheeler (keyboards/synthesizers)
Jubu (rhythm/lead guitar)
Larry Kimpel (bass guitar)
Calvin Napper (drums)
Vance Taylor (keyboards/synthesizers)
About Regina Belle
"I'm amazingly blessed. I will never ever say that I've lived the perfect life to be shown such favor with God or the people but here I am," declares the incomparable Regina Belle. The Academy Award-winning and multi-Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and actress, with a string of hits including "Make It Like It Was," "If I Could," "Baby Come To Me," and "This Is Love," Regina Belle has made a career following her heart and moving gracefully between the worlds of R&B, gospel, and jazz.
She is an entertainer of immeasurable musical talent. This New Jersey native has earned distinction as an international treasure. Her luminous vocals on the Peabo Bryson duet, "A Whole New World," (Grammy’s Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1994) solidiﬁed her place as music royalty.
Belle's vocal abilities were demonstrated at a young age, with her ﬁrst solo at the age of 8, at Friendship Baptist Church in New Jersey church pastored by her uncle, the late Dr. Fred M. Belle, Jr. The entertainer's natural gifts were further polished at Dwight Morrow High School and the Manhattan School of Music for Preparatory College where she studied classical voice training with Inga Wolfe. Although having received a full scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music, she opted to aim her sights on the elite Rutgers University to study both Africana Studies and Music.
In 1985 Belle left Rutgers University, her senior year, just 15 credits shy of completing her degree, to go on the road with the Grammy Award-winning, world-renowned group The Manhattans. She remained with them for two years before being springboarded into her own career.
Thirty years after leaving Rutgers and 10 albums later, Belle started taking online courses, which earned her Bachelors Degree in Africana Studies and a Minor in Music. Belle walked the stage with her "new class" from Rutgers in May 2015. She states, "This achievement of finishing my degree which I started almost 30 years ago and finally being done, was a bittersweet moment and rates as high as my Grammy Awards."
Her life was eventful, journey purposeful but not without misfortune. After releasing her first gospel album in 2008, Love Forever Shines, with the hit single "God Is Good," she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This devastating news came at the height of her gospel career. After two surgeries and 10 months rehabilitation, Belle found herself back at the top of her game ready to take on the world.
Belle's life experiences and health challenges have made her a champion in the area of caregiving, affording her opportunities to wear different hats. She is honored to represent AARP as a spokesperson for caregivers.
Belle has enjoyed career success for which many entertainers can only pray. She can also give thanks for a blessed personal life. She has been married to former NBA player, John Battle, since 1991. The couple has raised ﬁve children and blessed to have 3 grandchildren. Rev. John Battle serves as Senior Pastor, and Belle, working alongside him as an ordained minister, First Servant, and Minister of Music of their two churches: New Shield of Faith Worship Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and Spread the Word Ministries in College Park, Georgia.
With her latest release, The Day Life Began, Regina Belle is affirming that her journey continues and that her new recording signifies yet the beginning of an exciting new chapter. Regina concludes, "I draw strength from knowing that I'm operating within the purpose for my life and I’m having a ball doing it!"
Regina's goal is simple, "If I cannot identify with the songs, and if the music does not move my soul, make me feel better, take me up when I'm down or higher when I'm up, then I don't want to record it, play it, or sing it!"