1975 – present (48 years)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
- Cedric A. Napoleon (1975 – 2001)
- Curtis Harmon
- James K. Lloyd
- Tracy Hamlin
Pieces of a Dream emerged out of Philadelphia’s music scene in 1976. Keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon, were (and still are) managed by the drummer’s father and uncle, Danny and Bill Harmon, respectively. The group based their name on Pieces of Dreams, a cover tune by Stanley Turrentine that the group performed.
Pieces of a Dream first started playing throughout the Tri-State area, and were soon featured on Temple University’s pioneering jazz radio station, WRTI-FM. Long before the “Young Lions” era of Wynton Marsalis, Lloyd and Harmon were swinging so hard as teenagers that the great Count Basie once proclaimed them “a tough act to follow.” But it was another jazz legend, the late Grover Washington Jr., the sax man who made Philadelphia his home, who helped Pieces of a Dream become the internationally known stars they are today.
After quickly becoming popular around Philadelphia, the trio landed a spot as the house band for a local television show called City Lights. Their experience widened as they played backup on the broadcasts to a wide variety of artists, and that’s where Washington first heard them. One day while the teenagers were playing at the Bijou (where Grover had recorded his Live at the Bijou album), he sat in with them to play “Mr. Magic.” Soon Washington announced that he was starting a production company and that Pieces of a Dream would be his first act. Lloyd was only a senior in high school when his first record came out.
From 1981 to 1984, Pieces of a Dream built their reputation with three albums on Elektra that would come to define the musical essence of the smooth jazz radio explosion: Pieces of a Dream, We Are One and Imagine This. Those seminal records yielded some of their earliest hits, including “Warm Weather,” “Mount Airy Groove” and “Fo Fi Fo.” Soon after completing Joyride, their last effort for Elektra, Pieces of a Dream moved to EMI/Blue Note and went on to record seven more albums. During this period, the group amicably parted ways with long time friend Cedric Napoleon.
In 2001, Pieces of a Dream signed with Heads Up International and celebrated their 25th anniversary with what was undoubtedly their best album in years, Acquainted with the Night. The group’s silver anniversary release featured guitarist Ronny Jordan, vocalist Maysa Leak, and saxophonists Gerald Albright and Kenny Blake. Highlights included compositions from Albright and Michael Bearden, along with remakes of “Mahogany” and “Upside Down.” Acquainted with the Night generated two top-five singles on R&R's NAC chart. The follow up album Love's Silhouette also scored top radio chart positioning and Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart top 10 status. Their April 2004 release, No Assembly Required, is sure to be another hit album in their long and illustrious career.
One of their former singers Norwood Young is now a cast member on the E! Cable channel's TV show High Maintenance 90210.
Addition - May 9,2009
Formed: 1975 in Philadelphia, PA
Styles: Crossover Jazz, Urban, Smooth Jazz
Group Members: Curtis Harmon, Ron Kerber, James K. Lloyd, Cedric A. Napoleon
Comprised of bassist Cedric Napoleon, drummer Curtis Harmon, and keyboardist James Lloyd, Pieces of a Dream were founded in 1975 in Philadelphia when the principal members were all teenagers. Originally somewhat jazz-oriented, Pieces of a Dream have mostly emphasized R&B, although they usually include a few jazz numbers in their performances. Grover Washington, Jr. produced their first three albums (all for Elektra during 1981-1983); they have since recorded for Manhattan and Blue Note. Saxophonist Ron Kerber became a member in the 1990s, preceding the four varied releases that appeared throughout the decade. A collection appeared at the turn of the century, but the band proved to still be going strong with 2001's Acquainted with the Night and 2002's Love's Silhouette. No Assembly Required was released in 2004 on Cleveland's Heads Up label, followed by 2006's Pillow Talk, also on Heads Up. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
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