JOHN DENVER-RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE – Gov. John Hickenlooper-John Denver's kids-320px

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Coming Soon

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

BILL SZYMCZYK

Bill Szymczyk

Bill Szymczyk

Coming Soon

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

Larry-Dunn

Larry Dunn

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Larry Dunn

Larry Dunn was born on June 19, 1953, in Denver. He expressed a love of music from a young age, encouraged by his musician father and music-loving mother. At eleven, he formed his first musical group with Hilliard Wilson. This band would later expand to five members and become well-known in the local scene. In fact, at fifteen, Dunn was playing paid gigs seven nights a week at clubs, with his mother’s permission.

Dunn would cross paths with the original Earth, Wind & Fire when he was sixteen, a fortunate coincidence.

Dunn’s group, called Friends and Love, opened for the first iteration of Earth, Wind & Fire. Several members of Earth, Wind & Fire departed shortly thereafter, leaving Maurice and Verdine White as the sole remaining players. Despite the setback, Maurice decided to re-form the band with new talent.
In 1972, new Earth, Wind & Fire vocalist Philip Bailey happened upon Dunn playing at an L.A. club. Impressed with Dunn’s performance, he reached out to Maurice with the suggestion that they invite the nineteen-year-old to join. Dunn was quickly brought on board and soon added the funky keyboard, organ, clavinet and synthesizer playing that would become a staple of the band’s music.

The band’s new lineup would prove to be inspired, going on to transform R&B as we know it.

Dunn’s first album with Earth, Wind & Fire, Last Days and Time, received favorable reviews and placed well on both U.S. and U.K. charts. Dunn remained as keyboardist through several lineup changes, including the departures of saxophonist Ronnie Laws and rhythm guitarist Roland Bautista.

The formation of Maurice White’s production company, Kalimba Productions, opened more doors for band members.

Kalimba Productions signed several new artists, including The Emotions and Deniece Williams. Dunn performed as keyboardist on several of their albums and even produced The Emotions’ album Caldera. Dunn was a skilled producer and music director, also producing albums for Lenny White, Ramsey Lewis, Level 42 and Stanley Turrentine.

After leaving Earth, Wind & Fire in 1983, Dunn continued to make music.

Originally released in 1992 in Japan, Lover’s Silhouette is Dunn’s first and only solo album. It features several of Dunn’s contemporaries, including Al McKay, Ralph Johnson and Ronnie Laws.

Dunn has produced music through Source Productions, the production company he owns with his wife, Luisa, and Darroll S. Elliott. He’s also composed for films and commercials through this company.

In March 2000, Dunn and the other members of Earth, Wind & Fire joined the likes of Louis Armstrong and the Temptations as inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dunn has accumulated an impressive number of awards. Among them are seven Grammy awards and thirteen nominations, along with four American Music Awards and twelve nominations. As a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, Dunn also received the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Signature Governor’s Award. Additionally, two songs on which Dunn collaborated, “Shining Star” and “That’s the Way of the World,” have been added to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Dunn also was honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, the Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award from ASCAP in 2002, and induction into the NAACP Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire in 1994. The band has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide, and earned over fifty Platinum and Gold albums.

Dunn’s impact on American music is undeniable, and his contributions still resonate with fans of all ages and continue to influence musicians around the world.

Larry-Dunn
row1-earth-wind-fire

Larry Dunn Discography

1980 – Faces

1981 – Raise

1992 – The Eternal Dance

2002 – That’s The Way of the World – Alive in ’75

1979 – I Am

1974 – Open Our Eyes

2002 – Live in Rio

1977 – All ‘N All

1972 – Last Days and Time

1975 – Gratitude

1973 – Head To The Sky

1983 – Powerlight

1976 – Spirit

1983 – Electric Universe

1975 – That’s The Way of the World

2011 – N2 The Journey

1992 – Lover’s Silhouette

2016 – Shining Star

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

IM000750

Andrew Woolfolk

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Andrew Woolfolk

Andrew Woolfolk is undoubtedly best known as a longtime member of legendary R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire. But while many of his career highlights as a talented saxophonist are interwoven with the famous band’s achievements, Woolfolk’s story begins long before — and continues after — that period of his life.

Born on October 11, 1950, in San Antonio, Texas, Woolfolk first developed an interest in music at the age of 13. As a student at Denver’s East High School, he shared a campus with two of his future Earth, Wind & Fire bandmates, Philip Bailey and Larry Dunn. The trio spent time playing music with a local group known as Friends & Love, covering diverse genres to entertain Denver-area audiences.

Throughout his high school years, Woolfolk explored a variety of instruments, demonstrating his promising versatility, even as a teenager. He studied soprano and tenor saxophone, percussion and flute, and performed with the Echoes of Youth gospel choir, where he honed his vocal talents and crossed paths with the choir’s organist, future actress Pam Grier.

Woolfolk’s dedication to music study continued into his college years, as did his friendships with Dunn and Bailey. In 1971, Friends & Love was the opening act for a promotional gig hosted by the original members of Earth, Wind & Fire at a Denver Hilton. At that time, the national group leaned toward a brassy, jazz-heavy style.

IM000750
IMG_1321.

Led by founder Maurice White, the band switched gears with the arrival of several new members. The focus changed from the original jazz style to exhilarating dance music infused with unique lyrics and upbeat rhythms. At this point, Woolfolk was studying saxophone under his mentor, jazz artist Joe Henderson, and had plans to begin a career in banking. But a phone call from his old pal Bailey would soon change his life — and the history of American music.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s reworked musical concept proved a formula for near-instant success. In the meantime, two members of the group had moved on to other opportunities, and Bailey recommended both Woolfolk and Dunn as new members. Woolfolk officially became the group’s saxophonist in 1973, and for more than a decade, he performed around the globe as the band rocketed to international fame. Often called one of the most innovative musical acts of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire completely transformed the sound of Black pop. 

With multiple chart-topping hits, including an album recorded at Colorado’s famous Caribou Ranch, Earth, Wind & Fire became a household name. Woolfolk experienced everything from Grammy wins and triple-platinum albums to epic live performances and roles in feature films. 

By 1984, the group had reached a level of fame and success its members had not imagined possible. After releasing their thirteenth studio album, Electric Universe, they opted to take a brief break. During this time, Woolfolk and others pursued a variety of solo projects, many of which were successful in their own right.

In 1987, the group reunited and brought on a handful of new members. Earth, Wind & Fire, with Woolfolk continuing his role as a saxophonist, continued to release well-received albums for several years. In 1995, Woolfolk and several other members took part in a ceremony at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where the group was honored with a star. In early 2000, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. 

Over the years, Woolfolk has mastered alto, tenor and soprano saxophone as well as flute and percussion. In addition to his work with Earth, Wind & Fire, he’s collaborated with such notable musicians as Phil Collins, Valerie Carter, Deniece Williams, Level 42 and Ricky Lawson. 

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct Andrew Woolfolk (as part of Earth, Wind, & Fire) with the Class of 2017, forever cementing his place in Colorado music history. 

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

grid-dreeves

Dianne Reeves

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Dianne Reeves

row1-diane-reevesDenver resident Dianne Reeves has achieved remarkable status as a vocalist in the jazz world.

The unique timbre of her voice and the style and sensitivity she brings to her songs have made her an American treasure. Music was everywhere in Dianne’s family when she was growing up, and she honed her jazz chops with her cousin, George Duke, and her uncle, Charles Burrell.


Friends and family played a huge role in Dianne’s life.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1976 at the suggestion of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, and the two quickly rose to the top of their respective fields.

Ms. Reeves ranks among the top echelon of jazz singers, winning five Grammy Awards, two honorary doctorates, and numerous other awards. She sang with everyone from Stanley Turrentine to Harry Belafonte, and she was the featured singer in George Clooney’s film Good Night and Good Luck.

We are fortunate that she decided to move back to Colorado in the 1990s, and we treasure her for her elegance and evocative voice and the way she makes us feel as she explores and re-imagines jazz standards and new compositions. Congratulations to Dianne on being inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

row2-diane-reeves

Congratulations to Dianne on Being inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

Spotlight on Dianne Reeves

Colorado is home to many talented jazz musicians, each of whom have contributed their unique style and sound to the state’s musical legacy. Among the many beloved names that have earned well-deserved spots in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame is Dianne Reeves, an award-winning jazz singer with a long and storied career. 

Reeves has spent more than thirty years sharing her incredible talents with the world, both as a solo artist and a contributor to other jazz groups and artists’ work. 

A Master of Jazz and Music

The heart of Reeves’ career has always connected back to jazz, with a majority of her albums demonstrating the classic tenets of the jazz genre.  

But while Reeves has made a name for herself as a jazz singer over the past three decades, she’s also proved herself more than capable of performing other types of music. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she hopped between various forms of session work, touring with the band Caldera and artist Harry Belafonte, and partnering with Sergio Mendes. 

In 1982, Reeves began her work as a recording artist, quickly becoming known for her eclectic stylings. For the many fans who enjoyed both her recordings and live performances, Reeves’ music introduced them to a new realm of music that blends jazz with pop, world music, and African-inspired folk music. Much of her early work is distinctly autobiographical, with Reeves crafting extraordinary lyrics with superior skill.

Continuing a Family’s Musical Legacy

Dianne Reeves hails from a family with deep musical roots, including well-known musicians George Duke and Charles Burrell. Her mother played trumpet and her father sang, so it is perhaps no wonder that Reeves was passionate about music from the very beginning. 

Born on October 23, 1956, she spent just her first two years in Detroit before relocating to Denver with her mother after her father’s passing. Burrell, her uncle, was a bassist in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the person who would forever change her life – and music history – by introducing Dianne to jazz. 

While a student at George Washington High School in Denver, Reeves sang in a big band invited to perform at the National Association of Jazz Educators. There she was discovered by jazz trumpeter Clark Terry, who would go on to become her musical mentor. After graduation. Reeves spent a short time studying classical voice at the University of Colorado, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue music full-time in 1976.

Cementing a Successful Career as a True Artist of Jazz

After spending several years playing and touring with Sergio Mendes, Billy Childs, Harry Belafonte, and Caldera, Dianne Reeves signed with Blue Note Records in 1987. Dianne Reeves, her eponymous album, claimed the number-one spot on contemporary jazz music charts for an impressive eleven weeks. She went on to record several other albums of note with Blue Note Records, including The Grand Encounter, Never Too Far and I Remember.

From 2001 to 2015, Reeves won five Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Performance as a female artist, including for her work in the film Good Night and Good Luck. She was also honored with honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music and the Juilliard School in 2003 and 2015, respectively. Finally, in 2018, Reeves achieved one of the ultimate career milestones for an American jazz musician when she was designated a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

A Loyal Fan Following in Colorado

Even though Reeves’ career took her beyond her hometown of Denver, Colorado didn’t forget her – in fact, she’s always maintained a passionate base of fans in the state. Dianne Reeves songs are a staple on the soundtrack of famous Colorado music and for decades, she’s stood as a shining example of the state’s diverse musical talents, an essential part of Colorado’s music history. 

Today, Reeves’ story is told at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, and she is an integral part of the museum’s carefully-selected honorees. 

Discover the Long Legacy of Music in Colorado

Reeves isn’t the only iconic musician who’s called Colorado home –the list of talented musicians with roots in this state, past, and present, spans various genres, mediums, and more. At the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, you can learn the stories of Colorado’s most talented musicians and how they impacted our state’s history and music scene.

In addition to our on-site exhibits, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame also contributes to Colorado music events and educational opportunities for music lovers of all ages. For more information, visit our museum at the Red Rocks Trading Post today.

Dianne Reeves Discography

2014 – Beautiful Life

1987 – Dianne Reeves

1984 – For Every Heart

1990 – Never Too Far

1996 – The Grand Encounter

1991 – I Remember

2004 – Christmas Time is Here

2000 – In The Moment, Live in Concert

1994 – Art and Survival

1994 – Quiet After the Storm

1997 – That Day

2003 – A Little Moonlight

1989 – Never Too Far

2005 – Good Night, and Good Luck

1982 – Welcome to My Love

2001 – The Calling

1996 – The Palo Alto Sessions

1999 – Bridges

2016 – Light Up the Night

2002 – The Best of Dianne Reeves

1997 – New Morning

2008 – When You Know

2007 – Music for Lovers

More Inductees

ron-miles

Ron Miles

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Ron Miles

Ron Miles has played in many genres and styles of music with artists from all over the world… Yet there is something uniquely Colorado about the way he approaches all music equally.

imageedit_11_3597751850Ron Miles has played in many genres and styles of music with artists from all over the world. Yet there is something uniquely Colorado about the way he approaches all music equally. As much as Ron and Bill are both renowned for jazz playing, they both frequently cross musical boundaries into styles like folk, country music, and Americana. It is fitting that these two were inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame together in 2017.

A 2017 inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, cornet and trumpet master Ron Miles has made an indelible mark not only on the Centennial State, but on the global jazz world, as well. An internationally renowned composer, collaborator and educator, Miles summited the peak of the jazz world with his 2020 release Rainbow Sign, on the iconic Blue Note Records label. For Miles, recording for Blue Note is a high point in a career filled with milestones.

Miles was born in Indianapolis in 1963 and moved with his family to Denver at age eleven, around the same time he started playing the trumpet. He honed his early musical chops as a member of the jazz combo at Denver’s East High School, where he’s said that he learned to be “subtle and musical, not overly flashy.” Under the tutelage of band director Jerry Noonan, Miles played alongside gifted alto saxophonist and future Hollywood megastar Don Cheadle before heading to the University of Denver to study electrical engineering. While at DU, Miles was in a jazz improvisation class taught by pianist Ron Jolly, who encouraged him to pursue a career as a full-time musician, a possibility that had not previously occurred to the young horn player. According to Jolly, Miles was “the most talented student” he’d ever taught. Heeding his teacher’s advice, Miles changed his major and his life’s path. He also began a long-lasting relationship with the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble and its founder, saxophonist Fred Hess.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at DU, Miles earned a scholarship for graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music and moved to New York City for a year. In 1987, back in the Mile High City, the Ron Miles Trio (Miles, drummer Mark Fuller and bassist Mark Simon) released its debut, Distance for Safety, on Denver’s Prolific Records label. During this time, Miles was also completing his master’s degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder with his eye on a potential future as a college music professor. While finishing up at CU, in 1988 he began a teaching gig at what was then Metropolitan State College in Denver, forming a relationship with the school that continues to this day.

Since the release of Distance for Safety, Miles’s recording career has been a whirlwind of creativity and collaboration. Recording for Blue Note was particularly rewarding; Miles describes the imprint as “the last American label where you’re able to make the record you want to make.” Blue Note’s Rainbow Sign marks his 12th album as a bandleader, and the next release after Joshua Redman’s Still Dreaming, on which Miles played cornet, earned a nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Recognized as one of the finest melodists of his era with a gift for improvisation, Miles has lent his distinctive style to the work of a diverse list of musicians, including composer Mercer Ellington, fellow Coloradan and saxophonist Fred Hess, saxophonist and arranger Redman, and legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker. Coward of the County, a 1999 Baker/Miles recording with the DJQ20, a group comprising fellow members of Colorado’s jazz elite, remains a source of pride for Miles, who wrote all but two of the album’s songs. Most notably, Miles’s friendship and partnership with 2017 CMHOF inductee and fellow East High School graduate Bill Frisell spans decades, with each musician adding his unique sound to a multitude of recordings and live performances on stages across the globe.

Equally resounding is the legacy Miles has created throughout his 31 years at Metropolitan State University Denver, where he continues to inspire and mentor budding Colorado musicians as an instructor and Musician in Residence.

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame is proud to honor 2017 inductee Ron Miles for his deep contribution to the global legacy of jazz musicianship, composition and musical education.

Ron Miles was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ron Miles Discography

2003 – Laughing Barrel

2006 – Stone Blossom

2017 – New American Songbooks

1990 – Witness

2012 – Quiver

1996 – My Cruel Heart

2009 – 3ology

2018 – Still Dreaming

2009 – Go Home

2002 – Heaven

2014 – Circuit Rider

2017 – I Am A Man

1987 -Distance For Safety

1997 – Women’s Day

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

Bill-Frisell

Bill Frisell

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Bill Frisell

Many different paths have led talented artists to become part of the Colorado music scene. Bill Frisell’s journey began in Denver, where he spent the majority of his youth. Now, decades later, Frisell’s story is intertwined with both the history of music and the history of the state.

Type of Music

Although Frisell is known as a versatile musician, he’s undeniably an icon of the jazz world. Over his long and storied career, he has worked in jazz fusion, Americana, folk-jazz, country and even classical music, showing just how far his impressive abilities extend.

Among the many defining characteristics of Frisell’s talents are his capability for improvisation and his passion for weaving thematic connections into his music.

Early Beginnings in Colorado

Frisell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1951, but Denver served as the backdrop to most of his youth. While his professional experience has been centered on his work as a guitarist, he started as a clarinet player.
Frisell studied with Richard Joiner of the Denver Symphony Orchestra, nurturing a growing passion for the clarinet. Simultaneously, the pop hits played on the radio served as the initial spark for his interest in guitar. His fascination rapidly grew to include the Chicago blues, and Frisell began drawing inspiration from such musical greats as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Paul Butterfield and Otis Rush.

As noted in the biography page published on Frisell’s website, a significant turning point in his musical interests came in his teen years:

When I was 16, I was listening to a lot of surfing music, a lot of English rock. Then I saw Wes Montgomery, and somehow that kind of turned me around. Later, Jim Hall made a big impression on me, and I took some lessons with him. I suppose I play the kind of harmonic things Jim would play but with a sound that comes from Jimi Hendrix.

 

Bill-Frisell

 

Throughout high school, Frisell’s involvement in music never wavered. He contributed his talents to various bands, covering everything from James Brown songs to current pop. After graduating from East High School, he enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado to pursue music studies.

Musician Dale Bruning, who hailed from the Denver area, was Frisell’s first guitar teacher in college. Bruning would continue to be a significant influence throughout Frisell’s, career and remains one of the artists he cites as an inspiration today.

After Frisell graduated from UNC, he continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he worked closely with such well-known names as Jim Hall and Jon Damian, and continued to zero in on his signature style.

A Professional Career that Crossed Genre and Geographical Boundaries

As with so many legendary musicians of our time, Frisell’s big break was one that seemed fueled by the forces of fate. When guitarist Pat Metheny had to miss a recording session for ECM Records, Frisell was recommended as a fill-in. Soon after, Frisell was chosen to be ECM’s in-house guitar player, a role in which he would work closely with various artists.

In 1983, Frisell released his debut solo album, In Line. The tracks featured his work as a solo guitarist and a few duets with bassist Arild Andersen. Around the same time, Frisell relocated to Hoboken, New Jersey, where he quickly leaped into New York’s flourishing jazz scene. There he met several artists that he continued working with throughout his career, including John Zorn, Paul Motian and Joe Lovano.

The 1990s saw Frisell make another big move, this time to the Pacific Northwest. He touched down in Seattle, the city where he released two of his best-reviewed albums: Have a Little Faith and This Land.

From the late 1990s to the present day, Frisell has continued to wow critics and fans alike. Several of his songs have been featured in hit films, and he has also completed work for the Walker Art Center. With dozens of notable albums, the most recent of which debuted in 2020, Frisell shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Take a Deep Dive into Colorado’s Fascinating Music History

Bill Frisell is one of the countless artists who have contributed to the music history of Colorado. Learn more about his work as well as that dozens of other talented musicians by visiting Colorado Music Hall of Fame today.

Bill Frisell Discography

1999 – The Sweetest Punch

1998 – Songs We Know

2001 – Blues Dream

2001 – Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones

2014 – Guitar In The Space Age

2008 – History, Mystery

2011 – Sign Of Life

1987 – Lookout For Hope

2018 – Music IS

2010 – Beautiful Dreamers

2020 – Valentine

2013 – Silent Comedy

2019 – Harmony

2006 – Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, Paul Motian

1999 – Good Dog, Happy Man

1990 – Is That You

1992 – Have A Little Faith

1996 – Quartet

1997 – Nashville

2000 – Ghost Town

1984 – Rambler

2007 – Floratone

2017 – Small Town

2005 – East West

2009 – Folk Songs

2013 – Big Sur

1995 – Live

1995 – Go West

2003 – The Intercontinentals

1983 – In Line

1998 – Gone, Just Like A Train

1989 – Before We Were Born

2011 – All We Are Saying

2008 – All Hat

1998 – Gone, Just Like A Train

2016 – When You Wish Upon A Star

2019 – Epistrophy

1991 – Where In The World

2009 – Disfarmer

1995 – The High Sign One Week

2005 – Richter 858

1994 – This Land

2011 – Lagrimas Mexicanas

2004 – Unspeakable

2002 – The Willies

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

row2-earth-wind-fire (1)

Philip Bailey

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Philip Bailey

Perhaps best known as one of the lead singers of Earth, Wind & Fire, Philip Bailey has had a career marked by numerous industry accolades and chart-topping success – but it’s here in Colorado that his story began.

A True Chameleon of Musical Styles

With his musical versatility and many talents, Bailey is an artist who is often difficult to characterize. Time and time again, he’s proven that his skill simply transcends genres. But for most fans who are familiar with his work, Bailey is primarily an R&B and soul singer, with a considerable body of work that falls under the umbrellas of gospel and funk. He has also established himself as a talented songwriter and percussionist over the years, and has even graced the Broadway stage and television screens.

During his time with the iconic Earth, Wind & Fire, Bailey consistently demonstrated his impressive vocal prowess. When singing live, he could easily switch between his falsetto and a tenor, and served as the band’s on-stage leader when founder Maurice White retired from the road.

When Bailey began his solo career in the early 1980s, his R&B dance style captured the attention of both music critics and fans. As the years continued, his passion for exploring new musical art forms only grew as he released both jazz and gospel music albums. As recently as 2018, he made vocal appearances on numerous contemporary artists’ albums, including those of CeeLo Green and Travis Scott. Bailey’s most recent album release was in 2019, with Love Will Find a Way exploring the complex topic of racism in America.

A Denver Native with Worldwide Success

Born in Denver in 1951, Bailey is a true native of Colorado. He was a student at East High School and also attended both the University of Colorado and what became Metropolitan State University of Denver. Asked to name some of his earliest influences, Bailey points to such jazz icons as John Coltrane and Miles Davis, female singers like Dionne Warwick and Sarah Vaughan, and the signature Motown stylings of Stevie Wonder.

While he was a student at CU, his path crossed with that of Maurice White. The founder of Earth, Wind & Fire (initially called Salty Peppers when it was created in 1969), White invited Bailey to join the fledgling band. Bailey became part of an incredibly talented group that featured Verdine White (bass), Ronnie Laws (flute and saxophone), Jessica Cleaves (vocals), Larry Dunn (keyboard), Roland Bautista (guitar), and Ralph Johnson (percussion). 

Bailey brought his vocal skills to the band, earning the spot of featured lead vocalist on popular tracks such as “Reasons,” “Fantasy,” “Star,” “I’ve Had Enough,” “Devotion” and “Keep Your Head to the Sky.” He also often shared lead vocals with White, and together they headed hit songs including “September,” “Serpentine Fire,” “Sing a Song” and “Shining Star.” Earth, Wind & Fire also collaborated with The Emotions, which led to the classic release “Boogie Wonderland.”

One of the defining characteristics of Earth, Wind & Fire was that the band’s genre was virtually impossible to pin down. Its unique style bridged the gap between white and Black audiences, with songs transcending the often-limiting boundaries of race. With elements of jazz, pop, rock, soul, blues, folk, African music, and disco, the band and Bailey himself reshaped the music industry forever.

Bailey has been recognized by the Grammys, BET, and other industry leaders, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Berklee College of Music. His legacy also includes charity efforts that support foster children through music.

row2-earth-wind-fire (1)

Philip Bailey Discography

1983 – Continuation

1986 – Triumph

1984 – The Wonders of His Love

1984 – Chinese Wall

1986 – Family Affair

1986 – Inside Out

1994 – Philip Bailey

1997 – Life and Love

1999 – Dreams

2002 – Soul on Jazz

2019 – Love Will Find a Way

1975 – That’s the Way of the World

2003 – The Promise

2015 – Classic Christmas Album

1972 – Last Days and Time

1971 – Earth Wind and Fire

2014 – Holiday

1996 – Greatest Hits Live

2002 – Live in Rio

1975 – Gratitude

1993 – Millennium

1974 – Open Our Eyes

1979 – I Am

1981 – Raise

2005 – Illumination

1983 – Electric Universe

2013 – Now, Then & Forever

2002 – Alive in ’75

1976 – Spirit

1977 – All In All

1990 – Heritage

2013 – SOUL

1971 – The Need of Love

1996 – Avatar

1973 – Head to the Sky

1987 – Touch the World

1983 – Powerlight

Keep music history alive!
Donate to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.



More Inductees

east-high-blue-row-1

East High School

Inducted: November 28, 2017

East High School

east-high-blue-row-1

Colorado has an incredible wealth of actors, artists, and musicians to call our own, and it’s astounding to see how many of them came out of East High School.

Many of our Jazz Masters inductees attended East High. Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire all went to East High School, and so did Bill Frisell and Ron Miles, as well as prior inductees Judy Collins and Paul Whiteman.

While Philip Bailey was singing in the Youth Choir with future actress Pam Grier,

future guitar great Bill Frisell was playing clarinet in the school band. A few years later, Ron Miles was playing trumpet in the East High Jazz Band with actor Don Cheadle on saxophone.

A long list of renowned East High alumni spanning many generations have all benefited from the remarkable music programs there.

The East High School Music Program is the very first recipient of the Barry Fey Visionary award presented to the school for making great music possible in Colorado.

east-high-intro-row

East High was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame, with Jazz Masters class of 2017.

More Inductees

grid-earth-wind-fire

Earth, Wind & Fire

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Earth, Wind & Fire

row1-earth-wind-fire

Certain songs will always remind you of particular moments in your life; like your first time you fell in love, or of a certain time and place, or a special event in your life.

It’s a feeling that truly masterful musicians can create for us. But there is one funky group that seems to do this quite often. We are specifically talking about Colorado’s Earth, Wind & Fire – the local band gone global. It is the grounding that all these players have in jazz that has made Earth, Wind & Fire so enduring and expressive. Every time people hear these songs, they only love them more. Members Philp Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk all attended East High School.

Every time people hear these songs, they only love them more.

Larry Dunn was working clubs seven nights a week by the time he was 15, and he signed with Earth, Wind & Fire at the tender age of 17. Larry was already playing rock and jazz gigs and had a regular gig with local blues artist Sam Mayfield.

Andrew Woolfolk is a natural-born saxophone player who infuses every song with exquisite and adventurous playing. Philip Bailey’s four-octave range makes Earth, Wind & Fire’s songs unique, beautiful, and timeless.

Earth, Wind & Fire has taken us on an extraordinary musical journey for more than 40 years. They have used elements of jazz to create pop songs that have become a part of our lives, truly living up to the term “Jazz Masters.” Congratulations, Larry, Philip, and Andrew, for your induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

row2-earth-wind-fire

Earth, Wind, & Fire has taken us on an extraordinary musical journey for more than 40 years.

More Inductees