Suga Grits is a funk, soul & jamband based out of Washington, DC. The band originally formed in 2017 as a trio, but the band has since expanded to reach new heights. Each band member has their own seasoned history in music, from theatre pit crews to weddings to jazz to rock to funk and hip hop. These guys have seen and done it all, and they combine aspects from their diverse backgrounds to create a funk experience that is one of a kind. The band formed under the direction of their leader and founder, Turk Gaines. Since Turk’s passing in September 2018, the band has taken it upon themselves to continue his legacy. Their live performances are expanding into experimental realms, featuring improvisational mastery, funky solo sections and, most of all, a groove that is untouchable.
Today, Suga Grits boasts an array of experiences, including festival performances at Bless The Woods, Gotta Fest, Camp Down, The Nextival, and Front Porch Fest. The band has also rocked concert performances across the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. Suga Grits has performed in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Some of the more prestigious venues under their belt include Gypsy Sally’s (DC), Tropicalia (DC), The 8×10 (Baltimore), Martin’s Downtown (Roanoke) and One Stop (Asheville). Suga Grits has been featured on the Eddie Kayne Show on Washington, DC’s WPFW FM 89.3. Suga Grits has released two EPs of original music, Street Funk (Vol. 1-2).
Video: Live at Gypsy Sally’s [Full Set]
Audio: Live at The 8×10 (03-08-2018)
Studio EPs: Street Funk (Vol. 1-2)
James McCreavy: Bass & Vocals
James has been playing music all his life. He picked up his first guitar around 6 years old and started performing soon after at school recitals. Halfway through elementary school he started taking piano lessons and also started rock band camp that performed at places like World Cafe Live and The Grape Room in Philadelphia. During his highschool years, James learned the drums and started his first band with some friends while performing at venues in Philadelphia, Allentown, and Atlantic City. After graduating high school, James has been expanding his musical knowledge at school where he majors in music. When James is not in class he is taking private bass, piano, trumpet, and theory lessons from Terrance Gaines or playing xbox. James adds his own funky rock edge to each song.
David Suggs: Drums
David started playing drums at the age of 2 years old at his home church Isle of Patmos Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He was very heavy in listening to gospel, jazz & funk in the 80s. He was in the marching band at Barnard Elementary School where he was one of the leading captains of the drum corp. When he went to Duke Ellington School of the Arts, he started studying music theory & Jazz studies. He was a percussion major there & started to get deeper in playing the vibes. After graduating from Ellington, he went on to play for different artists in contemporary jazz, gospel, funk, hip/hop & R&B. He studied under Aaron Spears when he was younger & Frances Thompson when he was at Duke Ellington for 4 years.
Dev Duff: Vocals
Dev Duff’s musical career began as a child singing in his choir. His voice was so overwhelming that as a child he was instructed to sing with the adults because his voice was so powerful. As he got older, he was captivated by the hip hop movement and artists such as Jay Z and Notorious BIG. Being from Washington DC, his voice was trained in the church but was definitely sought out in the Go-Go scene. In 2004 Big Duff formed the hip hop group US-C (UptownSouthside-Connect) with childhood friend Tua-T produced by super-producer Sharock Hanabal. That same year, Duff and Tua appeared on Jay Sun’s legendary mixtape “Capital City Chronic.” In 2006, Jay Sun formed the group IBEX which consisted of Jay Sun, Big Duff, Davina and poet John Johnson. Big Duff has the unique ability to have an exceptional singing voice but also reminding many hip hop fans of a “Biggie-like” sound when he turns his attention to spittin’ verses. In 2008, Big Duff signed to Jay Sun’s SE3 recording label and has since worked with legendary artists and producers such as Mr. Hu, Slimkat78, Heron Gibron, Tamika Love Jones, Maimouna Youssef, Asheru, Jacobsoul, Hip Hop Pantsula, C. Love, Uptown XO, Warren Pederson, Sharock Hanabal, yU, Sean Born, Messiah and many legendary artists.
Jabari Exum: Percussion
Jabari Exum, is an electrifying performing artist born and raised in Washington, DC. He is a skilled percussionist in the West African / Latin Tradition and is a prolific writer and performer of Hip-Hop music (which he considers his 1st two instruments). Since 1997 Jabari has also been a pioneering artist in a movement called, “Hip-Hop Theater”. Needless to say, Jabari’s approach to everything that he touches is unique and unconventional since he is able to pull from so many different sources. He has been acting, drumming, and rapping since he was 2yrs and has been blessed with the opportunities to receive guidance from some of the greats across many fields of creative study. A few of his mentors have been: Debbie Allen Chadwick Boseman, Reggie & Roy Wooten, Mamady Keita, Grady Tate, Djimo Kouyate, KRS-One, Sonya Sanchez, Glen Turner, Chucky Thompson, Bill Summers Leon Mobley, Rickie Byars Beckwith, Robert Nothern, Mamadi Nyasuma, Baba Barnett, and Marc Ary.
Suga Grits Family
Terrance Gaines (Founder): Keys & Vocals
In Memoriam 1982 – 2018
Hailing from Washgton DC, his musical influenced include Motown, jazz, gospel, hip-hop and pop. Turk was a multi-instrumentalist/Music Director/Teacher and producer. He played many stages around the world from the smallest house party to Radio City Music Hall. After many years in Philadelphia, Turk resided in Washington, DC where he recorded, wrote, and planned his world wide take over. Turk passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on September 8, 2018 at the age of 35. Suga Grits continues on in his memory.
Jonathan Crandall: Keyboards
Jonathan Crandall, commonly known as “Johan,” has been engaged in the music industry for nearly a decade. Johan’s ultimate goal is to heighten the funk, hold down the pocket, and entertain crowds using an arsenal of keyboards with a strong variety of funky sound. Johan devotes his time and energy into recording, writing, and live performance anywhere and everywhere he can, bringing people together with good vibes and good music.
Dan Janis: Saxophone/Flute
A recent graduate of the University of Maryland School of Music, Dan Janis has burst onto the D.C. music scene as a talented woodwind artist and educator. Janis began his career touring the country with NYC-born jam band Baked Goods, a band he founded with his high school classmates that quickly overtook clubs and house parties all along the Atlantic. Janis has appeared at several major festivals, including Musikfest and NextNOW Fest, and has performed in every state on the East Coast. Since moving to D.C., Janis has collaborated with a number of D.C. artists, performing in and around the city as a guest soloist, member of horn sections, and leader of his own jazz quartet. Though his primary instrument is the tenor saxophone, Janis is an experienced performer on all woodwind instruments, having studied with Chris Vadala (Chuck Mangione Quintet; National Symphony Orchestra) during his time at UMD. Janis is excited to join Suga Grits and continue working with Turk, James, and David on bringing the funk back to the city.