Formerly known as Jazz Connection of Elizabeth City, NC, Connected was founded by Wayne James, band director of Northeastern High School in 1996. Mr. James featured students from his high school band including Heston Morris, Kentric Morris, and Phillip Anderson. Mr. James plays trumpet for the group. Dennis Figgs was added later that year and played piano and keyboards.
Currently managed by Wayne James, Dennis Figgs, and Ellard Forrester, Connected has been both blessed and fortunate to feature many great musicians of the Albemarle Area. Current members include: Dennis Figgs on piano and keyboards, Wayne James on trumpet, Dr. Rev. Quin Rawls on bass, Will Lane on guitar, Ellard Forrester on drums and percussion, and Alana Houston on vocals. Other members who do or have performed with Connected include: Steve Raisor, Timon Stallings, Naomi Rogers, CJ Mercer, Wells Gordon, Michael Gregory, Douglas Jackson, JP Peele, Marlow Greene, and Wes Smith. John Brown was a featured guest artist for Connected for a Lyceum Series concert in 2007 at Elizabeth City State University.
Connected has performed in various venues, including The Duck Jazz Festival in Duck, NC, the North Carolina Potato Festival in Elizabeth City, NC, several local summer concert series (The Summer Concert Series at Newbold-White House in Hertford, NC, the Music By the Bay Concert series in Edenton, NC, the Summer Breeze Concert Series in Corolla, NC, and the Indian Summer Festival in Hertford, NC. The group has played at local restaurants including 3 Amigos Mexican restaurant in Elizabeth City, The Table Restaurant and House 51 Restaurant in Edenton, NC, Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern in Nags Head, NC, and Coast Cravings in Duck, NC.
Connected showcases a variety of styles and genres in Jazz, as they spread this wonderfully created American music across the Northeastern Albemarle Area. Their goal is to provide this uniquely special music to any and all who lend an ear to appreciate America’s greatest artform, Jazz.