“Work hard at what you love, treat everyone you meet like family, and try to smile here and there". Through it all, Gino Matteo still holds true to what he believes. Being a rarity in today's Roots-Music world, Gino Matteo is a young man with an incredible knowledge and respect for the past while still adding his own spaced out futuristic twist.
An acclaimed songwriter and producer, Gino can be found in the studio while off tour with Sugaray producing or on tour with his own trio.
A veteran musician/vocalist/producer with over forty years experience, Drake has played it all. From Deep Purple to Al Green and all points in between, Drake has worked with many of the biggest names in the business. His passion, humor and unique style keep him at the top of many industry short lists.
When not performing with the Sugaray Rayford Band, "Munkihaid" can be found collaborating on various recording/arranging projects as well as mentoring up and coming artists.
Aaron met Sugar at his Cozy's jam in 2008 the same week Obama won his first, groundbreaking election. It was a very good omen and the two cemented a friendship within days. Fast track to the Sugaray Rayford Band: Aaron has played all the European tours, and a live album. With his gutsy passionate playing style Aaron is a perfect fit for the undeniable energy of the Sugaray Rayford Band, and at 6'5" both men stand shoulder to shoulder. Aaron performed and recorded with the great Amy Winehouse (Back to Black reissue album, official Rehab video, The BRIT Awards show, and The Jools Holland Show). He's also appeared with Steve Cropper, Elliott Randall, Bob Geldof, Maceo Parker and Prince. Above all the long friendship and camaraderie has overcome the issue of them living either side of the pond. Onstage Aaron slips right into the groove and heart of Sugar's music.
Bassist Allen Markel has been a "working stiff" since he graduated from William Paterson University (NJ) in 1990 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance. While living in the New York area, he performed with high-end wedding bands such as Topaz and Black Tie Music. Later he also backed up and recorded with many singer-songwriters including Edie Carey, Meredith Levande, Steve Tannen (The Weepies), and Greg Tannen, with a focus on fretless bass.
In the early 2000's Allen spent many years performing and recording with acclaimed Latin Jazz vocalist and percussionist Raphael Cruz. He performed on Cruz's star-studded release "Bebop Timba," which received a Grammy nomination in the Latin Jazz category in 2005.
Moving to Portland, OR in 2007, he immediately found work in the vibrant blues scene. He spent many years working with Vizztone recording artist Kevin Selfe, as well as the Blues Music Award nominated ensemble The Insomniacs. His solid timekeeping work with these artists, as well as regional favorites Rae Gordon and Robbie Laws, gained the attention of the Cascade Blues Association which nominated him multiple times for the Muddy Waters Award for Bass Player of the Year.
Today you can find Allen backing up soul man Sugaray Rayford, performing for audiences world-wide. Sugaray made his mark performing in the Tony Award winning play "Ain't Nuthin' But the Blues" and has since gone on to front his own high-energy blues and soul band. They recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour, with performances in more than 15 countries in Europe, as well as the Montreal Jazz Festival in Quebec.
Giles is a British, London based professional trumpet player and teacher
Giles can be found working all over the UK and worldwide. With extensive studio, live and touring experience both in the pop and theatre world. He has worked with artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lilly Allen, Squeeze and Cliff Richard to name a few. Theatre credits include Londons West End Theatres, with show credits including The Rat Pack, Beautiful and The Jersey Boys.
Now having the pleasure of knowing Sugar for the last few years, Giles is proud being a part of the Sugar Rayford band.
Lavell Jones master drummer and genius of the rhythm section, has toured with Neil Diamond, Seal, Little Milton, Lucky Peterson, Genuwine and many others over his long musical career.
Lavell is the younger cousin of legendary harmonica player Little Walter. Born in St Louis Missouri and raised by his great grandparents, Lavell's been powering the sugaray rayford band for four years.
"This is one of the best bands I played in, if not THE best band I ever played in. The foundation of the way I play is from old school gospel. I consider it a blessing to be a part of Sugaray Rayford Band."