Salute to Three of Maryland’s Divas

By Rosa Pryor, Special to the AFRO

Hello everyone, hope everything is well on your end. I am trying not to think about all the terrible tragic events in our hometown and so glad that I am an Entertainment Columnist and not a News Reporter. I only will talk about the fun things going on in Maryland such as singers, musicians, concerts, shows, plays and festivals. Just happy stuff is what “Rambling Rose” likes to talk about.

Anthony Michael Hobbs, Filmmaker will host the 3rd Annual Imagination Lunchbox International Children’s Film Festival that recently screened short films made by kids and for kids from around the world returns to Baltimore Saturday, August 17 from 3-5 p.m. at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center; 847 N. Howard Street.

This week, I want to salute three of Maryland’s accomplished females’ singers. There are more, but my column does not have the space. I personally have been a part of these three vocalist lives from the beginning before they left Baltimore to further their career. I am so damn proud of them and you too. Watching them grow from a local hometown singer to become world-wide known is a hell-la-va accomplishment and still going strong is a lot we all should be proud of. 

Gabrielle Goodman, a protégé of Roberta Flack began her international performance career as a backing singer for Flack in the mid 1980’s and continued to tour and record with the legend for several years opening for Miles Davis, Ray Charles, the Crusaders and other legends in Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and other prestigious venues all over the world. Also a solo artist, she appeared in festivals such as the Montreux, North Sea, and Newport just to name a few. She has recorded for JMT, Verve, and Polygram and has written and arranged songs for Chaka Khan and Roberta Flack. She has worked as a professor of voice at Berklee College of Music since 1998 and is still there.

Gabrielle Goodman, jazz vocalist was raised in Baltimore in a musically family. Her mother was a classical singer and her father was a jazz trombonist. Gabrielle attended Peabody preparatory school and Oberlin College. She transferred to the Peabody Institute conservatory, where she studied under the direction of Alice Gerstl Duschak and Gordon Hawkins and graduated in 1990.

Parris Lane has recorded with many greats including the group “MARZ” Capital on Liberty Records, and received raved reviews as a soloist on the song entitled “You’ve Got Me Crying Again”. Parris has had the privilege to work with great songwriters/producers such as Grammy Awardees Skip Scarborough and Grammy Nominee Donald Robinson. Parris receive her Emmy nomination as an actress/singer on the children’s television show “Bob the Vid Tech,” and starred in several local musical productions such as “Godspell”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “PURIE” AND “SELMA”. Her versatile talents also include the producing of several CDs, author for several published books and the founder of KenGlow Oil.

Parris Lane the MD PBS Emmy Nominated Actress/Singer who extraordinary voice lends itself to many different styles of music. Another one of our own from Annapolis, Maryland. Parris has performed for audiences around the world from Carnegie Hall to London, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Bangkok. Her four-octave voice lends itself to diverse styles including Gospel, jazz, R&B, Pop, Classical and Show tunes.

Brenda Alford, another vocalist from our hometown of Baltimore with the rich musical legacies of Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Eubie Blake, Frank Zappa, and the musical genius of jazz pianist Charlie Covington and Cyrus Chestnut, with whom she worked with for several years. While in Baltimore, after her first teaching experience, she wrote and performed concerts for children; “A History of Jazz”, “Living with Jazz”, and “Legends and Jazz”, touring over 100 schools with her trio for about 14 years under the auspices of the Baltimore City Office of Cultural Enrichment and the Maryland Arts Council. Brenda has shared the stage with numerous other jazz legends over the years including Horace Silver, Slide Hampton, Tommy Flanagan, Joe Donato, Jesse Jones, Jr., Keter Betts, Stanley Turrentine, among others. In addition of being an accomplished singer, Brenda is a recent retiree from Miami-Dade County Public Schools as an elementary school teacher.

Brenda Alford, jazz vocalist originally from Baltimore is a highly acclaimed singer and songwriter. A graduate of the University of Miami Frost School of Music, she has the distinction of being one of a very few vocalists ever to record with renown jazz legend Horace Silver. Her repertoire includes, jazz, gospel, pop, R&B and blues. She has also appeared in two movies, Jon Waters’ original “Hairspray” and Barry Levinson’s “Avalon”.

Well, my dear friends, it is about that time, I am out of space, please enjoy your week and stay safe. Remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at [email protected]. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.