Gravity Jazz & Gospel is an instrumental jazz and gospel group based in Columbus, Ohio. We play a mixture of contemporary and classic jazz, soul, R&B, and urban gospel music. The group originally started out as a 15 member urban gospel group called God’s People Rendering Inspirational Praise (G.R.I.P.). However, the logistics and economics of managing a group of that size were untenable. The group members love styles of music that have roots in the church: jazz, soul, and R&B. With the success of the gospel-jazz brunch format for clubs and churches, Gravity was formed in order to play multiple styles of music in a variety of settings. The group has played at many events and organizations including the West Virginia Wine & Jazz Festival, the Lincoln Theater, the American Diabetes Association, the Troubadour, and Las Margaritas.
Current members of the band are:
Melvin Marshall – drums and percussion
Lynn Nutter – bass
Donald Steele – guitar
Gary Thompson – alto and soprano saxophone
Dave White – keyboards
Melvin Marshall has over 40 years of experience playing drums and percussion. He has played in several local bands including the R&B funk group, Rhythm Enrichment, and the smooth jazz group, Private Session. Marshall plays regularly for services at Rhema Christian Center. Through his association with Rhema he has opened for several nationally known artists including Ben Tankard, Vicki Yohe, Darwin Hobbs, and Alvin Slaughter.
Lynn Nutter started his music career in the Smyrna Baptist Church in 1978. In 1980 he formed his own gospel group, Surely Blessed. Since 1984 he has played with various jazz and funk groups including The Soul Inspirations. He has played for many local churches including Healing Water and Christ Cathedral Church. Lynn currently plays regularly for services at Faith Now In Action.
Donald Steele has been playing guitar since the age of 13. He started out playing rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. Don went into the service after graduating from high school and was subsequently exposed to a variety of musicians and styles of music. During this time he started listening and playing jazz. When Don returned to Columbus he played in various local bands of all musical genres. Among his favorite musicians are John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and Scott Henderson.
Gary Thompson started playing alto saxophone in Philadelphia, PA. He picked up his brother’s saxophone and discovered that he could play what he heard on records, duplicating the horn parts and the solos. Gary studied with Odean Pope, who played with the Catalyst Band and Max Roach. He also played and studied with vibraphonist Bill Lewis. Gary has been influenced by countless jazz, R&B, funk, gospel, and avant garde musicians. Some of his influences are David “Fathead” Newman, Grover Washington, Gerald Albright, Stanley Turrentine, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Sonny Stitt. He has played with many musicians in venues and churches along the East Coast and in Columbus.
Dave White has many years of experience both playing and recording with local artists including Grapes of Jazz, the Tommy Wade Jazz Orchestra, Jerry Loos & Stormfront, Dave Absalom, Dwight Bailey, and Adria Shahid. He contributed keyboards to Alison Kitchen’s project, “Mercy Dancing”. Dave has also played keyboards with nationally known artists Terry Butler, Carman, Brian Doerksen, and Martin Smith (of Delirious?). Dave played for worship teams at Vineyard Church of Columbus for 15 years. He currently contributes keyboards for services at Radiant Life and other local churches. During the ’80s Dave played in local progressive rock bands. For the first decade of his musical life, Dave studied classical music with Lehigh Valley, PA teacher, Frank Chesebro.