Music artists Christopher Wray, Evan and Cory Phillips helped bring crowds in for a charity event Friday night, Jan. 15, at the Dakota Live Music Lounge in Santa Monica.
Lounge owner, Sabrina Roark, held the event to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s sports training program, Team in Training, where she is preparing for a triathlon.
Team in Training is one of the largest charity sports training programs available and has brought in one billion dollars in support of blood cancer research and patient services, according to their Web site.
Most of the money for the charity event was raised through beer pong Olympics, which took place before the concert began.
“The band wasn’t actually involved with the charity.” Roark said. “They were booked on top of the event, but some of them donated a portion of their door as well.”
Starting off the show was Christopher Wray who energetically hyped up the crowd with his pop, jazz, and soul music. Wray’s songs featured the sounds of piano, bass, and drums, and even the flute, which blended together nicely.
Wray’s influences vary from Miles Davis, Al Green and The Spinners, to Badu. His inspirations have greatly contributed to the music he writes now.
He said that he’s been blessed to have recorded his first CD with some of the best people: Jon Cowherd, Brian Blade, and Dave Easley to name a few. Most of the songs in his set were from his upcoming album set to release in April of this year.
“I want to write songs people can sing to— songs that are melodic,” Wray said.
Dee Calloway, the drummer for Wray, said “My man, Wray, he’s all about positivity and reaching out.”
The music was moving and fun. The band was all on beat. Wray hit the high notes right, and the instrument solos took the music from great to amazing.
The crowd was left wanting more by the end. Wray played two encores with the crowd’s encouragement and enthusiasm for more of his soothing soulful sound.
“I loved it!” said Joey Clement, a member of the crowd. “The band was great and the rhythm was good and tight. I didn’t expect that.”
Cory Phillips followed Wray playing the second set of the night. His music had a jazz-like rhythm and blues feel to it. Its catchy and upbeat tempo kept the audience in the mood, some nodding their heads and tapping their feet to the beat.
Phillips’ music varied from blues-like mellow tunes to the more jazzy feeling with its quick lively beats. His 60-minute set finished off with the latter, a fast paced jazz song.
Evan finished off the night with something much different than Wray or Phillips. His musical style is pop, but much more powerful and exceptional than anything heard on today’s airwaves. It’s indescribably unique and enjoyable to hear.
Roark ended up raising about $1000 towards her overall goal of $5500 for the triathlon.
The Dakota Live Music Lounge is located at 1026 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. For more information on their upcoming shows, check out the dakotalounge.com. For more information about the charity, visit teamintraining.org.