JAZZ ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR
Practically everyone in the house played an instrument and that raw talent surely wouldn’t be wasted on Pharez Whitted either. At the age of nine he found a trumpet in the closet and asked his brother to show him how to play a C major scale, and it was all over – he was hooked. It wasn’t just that his father (Thomas Whitted Sr.) played drums with Freddie Hubbard and Wes Montgomery, or that his mother (Virtue Whitted) sang and played the bass, it was the deeply rooted love he had for the music and his close ties with it.
If you asked Pharez what inspires his music, he’d say that the world needs hope and beauty and his compositions were created for that purpose. His music is for the people, to lift them up and inspire beautiful thoughts and a harmonious vibe throughout the universe. One love, one universal voice. That voice is heard loud and clear in his newest release, ‘The Tree Of Life’. In this album he wanted people to feel the music he performs more than just to think about it from a musical standpoint. One of his biggest goals is to perform music that is accessible to everyday people but still speaks to life and creativity while elevating their mind and spirit to dream and visualize possibilities that they never imagined. That is a lofty goal, but he has hit that mark and beyond.
What Pharez has prided himself on are the members of the band in his current project ‘The Tree of Life’ whom he says are all extremely creative in their own right. They have a very unique voice on their respective instruments, and a beautiful spirit, which is what drew him to them in the first place. The members in his new band are Jonathan Wood on bass, Edwin Bayard on tenor sax, Lovell Bradford on piano and keys, and Greg Artry on drums and percussion.
Pharez is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana and attended DePauw University and Indiana University with a focus on music. He has participated in several television events including The Billboard Music Awards and The Arsenio Hall Show. He was an artist on MoJazz, Motown’s Jazz label and worked with a variety of artists including George Duke, Elvin Jones, Slide, Hampton, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, David Baker, Ramsey Lewis, Lou Rawls, Bobby Broom, John Mellencamp and El Debarge. He also had two albums on the jazz charts in the top 10 (“Transient Journey 2010 “and “For the People” 2012).
In addition to his work as a musician, Pharez is a producer, composer, arranger and educator. He has taught Jazz Trumpet, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz History and has directed jazz ensembles at various Universities and High Schools throughout the country. He served as Professor of Music at Chicago State University and is on the faculty of Ravinia’s prestigious Jazz Scholar Program in Chicago.
More about Pharez can be found on his website.