Saxophonist Duane Parham is one of the Motor City’s most beloved jazz artists. He is recognized as an innovator and top performer in Smooth Jazz, R&B and Gospel Music. Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Duane’s latest project, “Motor City Sax Appeal: My Tribute to the Motown Legends” delivers a Mo-Jazz tribute to Motown Records with guest appearances from some of the label’s most legendary performers. Guest appearances by The Four Tops, The Miracles, The Contours, The Original Vandellas, Pat Lewis, Carolyn Crawford, and five time Grammy award winner Michael J. Powell give this CD album an authentic Motown mix that blends wonderfully with Duane’s Mo-Jazz style. Duane, one of the Executive Producers on this project is joined by other talented producers such as Pat Lewis, Carl “Butch” Small and Maurice Whitsett.
As an artist, Duane has amassed several accolades acknowledging his talent and civic contributions. He is the recipient of three Mayoral Proclamations of Achievement from Mayors Coleman A. Young and Dennis W. Archer of Detroit along with Mayor Martha G. Scott of Highland Park, MI for his accomplishments in the development of Music Arts and his outstanding contribution to the progress of both communities.
Duane also received the Spirit of Detroit Award for producing and arranging “Dream Detroit,” a song co-written with the late Detroit Councilwoman Kay Everett. Most recently, Duane was inducted into the “Detroit Legends of Jazz Hall of Fame.” He holds the distinction of being the youngest person to join this elite fraternity at the time of his induction.
Duane takes an active role in contributing to the legacy of Jazz in Detroit with his Saxville Avenue Record label. Saxville has released several productions, including Duane’s recent CD entitled “Martin’s Dream” whereas he has been license by the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to release his music and poetry that includes parts of the original speech that was recorded in Detroit, “I Have A Dream.”
As a performer, Duane Parham has opened for noted Motivational Speakers Les Brown and Iyanla Vanzant, R&B and Soul singers Anita Baker, Martha Reeves, Freda Payne and Spider Turner. Duane has also performed alongside gospel greats Michael Matthews, The Clark Sisters, The legendary Shirley Caesar and Rance Allen.
In July 2010, Duane opened for the legendary George Duke at the 15th Annual Trenton Jazz Festival along with Saxophonist Euge Groove and Guitarist Tim Bowman. Also in July, 2010, Duane opened the Metro Jazz Festival in Warren, Michigan along with fellow jazz saxophonists Nelson Rangell, Mindi Abair and Spyro Gyra.
August 2012, Duane was nominated and voted “Best Horn Player of the Year,” by the Detroit Black Music Award.
As an accomplished musician, Pruitt has toured nationally with Joe Simon Rhythm & Blues Band, directed by internationally acclaimed jazz artist Charles Gabriel. Presently, he leads an 18-piece jazz orchestra called Ben’s Friends which performs regularly in the Detroit area.
Pruitt served as Minister of Music at Plymouth United Church of Christ from 1989 to 2001. He also served as Director of the Detroit Police Department Community Concert Band and the Charles Young American Legion Post Concert and Marching Bands.