RJ Spangler Trio
|Years active||2005 - Present|
|RJ Spangler Drums, Cowbell|
Ralph Tope Guitar
The RJ Spangler Trio is a a funky organ trio lead by Veteran drummer RJ Spangler with guitarist Ralph Tope & organist Duncan McMillan. They have been together for over a decade, when they backed vocalist Odessa Harris.
RJ has been on the Detroit music scene for decades. He earned his first "Motor City Music Award" in 1980 with a band he co-founded called "The Sun Messengers." After 15 years with the band, RJ went on to head up the band for the late Detroit blues guitar master Johnnie Bassett - touring extensively across the US, Canada, and Europe. He also toured and recorded with two of Detroit's beloved blues greats.....the late Joe Weaver, and the late great singer Alberta Adams. RJ has performed with legendary artists such as Eddie Kirkland, The Drifters, Earl King, Larry McCray, Francine Reed, Tad Robinson, Pinetop Perkins, Thornetta Davis, and too many other performers to list here. Spangler is a WC Handy award nominated drummer, and was also inducted into the "Michigan Blues Hall of Fame." He is also one of the proud co-founders of Planet D Nonet...aka...PD9..
Guitarist Ralph Tope picked up the guitar at the age of 16 after hearing Detroit jazz guitar stalwart Perry Hughes. After months of sitting quietly in the audience soaking up Mr. Hughes' every move...Perry finally approached Tope to ask why he kept coming out. Ralph exclaimed he wanted to play just like him - so, after much prodding...Perry agreed to teach him. Within a few short years, Ralph became - and remains an in-demand player on the Detroit scene.
Keyboardist Duncan McMillan began studying piano at age 5. His musical studies continued with Frederic DeHaven at Christ Church in Grosse Pointe, singing in the boys choir. He also studies jazz piano and music theory with James Hohmeyer, Bess Bonnier and Matt Michaels. Upon graduation from Western Michigan University, where he received a B.M. in piano and jazz studies, Duncan established himself as a versatile musician, working as a sideman with such artists as Jon Hendricks, Aretha Franklin, Rodney Whitaker, Ira Sullivan, Marcus Belgrave, the late great Detroit blues guitarist, singer & songwriter Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents, the late vocalist Odessa Harris - and performs frequently with The Paul Keller Orchestra, as well as lending his piano and organ talents with many other talented bands and artists.
- This Is What We Do (2012) https://rjspanglertrio.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-what-we-do Bandcamp]
- A Li'l More (2015)