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Showcasing Trenton & Its Influences

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Chuck Berry Singer-Songwriter and Founder of Rock 'n Roll
One of the many stellar artists that simply hung out in writer, playwright, and activist Ntozake Shange's house in Trenton.

Berry is known as one of the founding fathers of rock and roll. His song "Johnny B. Goode" is just as legendary as he, not just for it's association with cult classic film Back to the Future, but for paving the way for rock music of the late '50s and early '60s, such as Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
City Gardens Club
This Trenton based nightclub may have closed in 2001, but in its 22 year lifespan as a rock and roll venue, it housed many local and national acts, helped the punk scene thrive during it's explosion during the late '70s and early '80s, and has even had a book and a movie come out documenting it's wide range of historical moments over the stellar decades that it was open.
Duke Ellington Composer and Pianist
One of the many stellar artists that simply hung out in writer, playwright, and activist Ntozake Shange's house in Trenton.
Duke Ellington is one of jazz's most notable composers and pianists, having led one of the most accomplished jazz orchestras throughout most of his musical career – which spanned over 50 years.  He won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966 and his impact on music is still being felt over 50 years since then.
Gigi Grice Classical Trumpter and Composer
Brother of Trenton legend, Thomas Grice, Gigi, during his reign as one of the most accomplished jazz musicians, he inspired, composed, and arranged hundreds of pieces of music. Being a saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist, and composer gave him an ear for more than just good music, but music that would become timeless and influential to the jazz genre as a whole.
Jon Stewart Comedian
Writer and comedian Jon Stewart was a bartender at City Gardens during it's rock club peak in the mid 1980s. He later went on to be a stellar comedian writer, political commentator, and television star, working on shows such as Comedy Central's The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and even his own show, The Jon Stewart Show.
Kool and the Gang Band
Kool and the Gang is a classic R&B and funk band whose songs like "Celebration" and "Jungle Boogie" have made them one of the most sampled groups of all time. This group made its mark in more ways than one, selling 7.5 million records worldwide.
Labelle Band
Formerly known as Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles, this girl group took the '60s and '70s by storm, but their passion and power has never wavered. They started with pop and do-wop songs and later experimented with soul, funk, and rock.
Labelle had nine Top 20 R&B hits between 1963 and 1976.
Michael Ray Student
This jazz trumpeter and member of Kool and the Gang has worked with people in and out of the music industry for decades to bring passion to the table in every facet of his life. From his solo work, his own band, touring with Sun Ra, Kool and the Gang, U2 and more, this local legend has one of the most dedicated hearts in the business.
Miles Davis Classical Trumpter and Composer
One of the many stellar artists that simply hung out in writer, playwright, and activist Ntozake Shange's house in Trenton.
Jazz in the 20th century would not have been what it was or have had the impact it did if it wasn't for trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis. His influence is felt to this day in the music industry and jazz stylings of the like. 
Nona Hendryx Labelle
One of the founding members of Labelle, formally known as Patti Labelle and The Bluebelles, Hendryx' stunning vocals, songwriting, and passion for entertainment has made her one of the most powerful Trenton natives.
Ntozake Shange Playwright
Shange was as outspoken, creative, and passionate as they come. Growing up in an artistic household with friends of her father being the likes of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, she was able to nurture her creativity in writing. Becoming an award winning, notable playwright and poet gave her a place to express herself, her concerns, and be an activist for equality and understanding of the Black race and their lives, feelings, and misrepresentation.
Ramones Band
One of the biggest punk bands of all time, of whom are often credited as the first true punk rock group, The Ramones came out of New York City in 1974 with fire in their soul, their words, and their instruments. The band has been noted to have played Trenton's iconic rock venue, City Gardens, 25 times, helping making their mark in the tristate area.
R.E.M. Band
This Georgia based rock band kept their sound fresh and their creativity peaked once they took off in the music scene in the 1980s. Guitarist and founding member Peter Buck credits being influenced by City Gardens and the surrounding areas of it as their song "Perfect Circle" drew a sort of nostalgic inspiration from young Trenton boys running around the park and playing football.
Sarah Dash Student
One of Thomas Grice's most successful and passionate students, Sarah Dash went on to become one of the young founding members of the pop/do-wop group of the early '60s, Patti Labelle and The Bluebelles. Her influence as an artist, Trenton native, and creative force is felt strongly in the Trenton community even today.
Thomas Grice Music Education Teacher
Trenton's infamous musician, educator, and deacon, Thomas Grice, also know as Tommy Grice, took this city and this community by storm as soon as her arrived in the 1950s. His ear for music and talent shaped him and, in turn, shaped this capital city as a whole. He dedicated music of his life to what he did best: music. Whether it was performing, mentoring young artists and bands, or teaching in the Trenton school system, he made his mark wherever he went and with whatever he did.
Thomas Grice Academy of Music School
The Thomas Grice Academy of Music is a non-profit cohesive educational program created by Thomas Grice and some of his notable music students over the years to help inner city kids truly immerse themselves in the music of their community and the music in their heart.
Tom Passerella Music Education Teacher
Another notable Trenton music teacher, Tom Passerella is directly credited as being one of two of well known trumpeter, Michael Ray's, biggest influences and mentors. (The second being Thomas Grice.) 
TRENTON Capitol City of New Jersey Visibility
Source Link Target Date
City Gardens Jon Stewart
City Gardens Ramones
City Gardens R.E.M.
Michael Ray Kool and the Gang
Michael Ray Tom Passerella
Nona Hendryx Labelle
Nona Hendryx Thomas Grice
Ntozake Shange Chuck Berry
Ntozake Shange Duke Ellington
Ntozake Shange Miles Davis
Sarah Dash Labelle
Sarah Dash Nona Hendryx
Thomas Grice Gigi Grice
Thomas Grice Michael Ray
Thomas Grice Sarah Dash
Thomas Grice Academy of Music Thomas Grice
Thomas Grice Academy of Music TRENTON
Tom Passerella Thomas Grice
TRENTON City Gardens
TRENTON Ntozake Shange
TRENTON Thomas Grice


Trenton's music scene has flourished over the years, here is just a short connecting graph to view as some proof of the influence it has had and the influence those within it have had.