Formed in 1997, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
Fertile Ground comprise of:
James 'The Light' Collins (composer / pianist / trumpet / arranger)
Navasha Daya (lead vocals)
Ekendra Das (percussion)
Craig Alston (tenor saxophone / baritone)
Fred Dunn (trumpet / flugelhorn)
Marcus Asante (drums)
James Collins formed Fertile Ground in Baltimore in the spring of 1997, based around Navasha Daya's warm vocals and drummer Marcus Asante's drum grooves.
Fertile Ground created their local fame by performing in the local Baltimore area clubs.
The group has since grown into a sextet that includes African percussion and a horn section.
'Field Songs', the debut album by the group, was a compilation of jazz and R & B and was released on the groups own Blackout label (named after the groups self owned Blackout Studio's).
Collins said of the groups debut set:
'The basic concept of the title 'Field Songs' is that we're still in the fields.We are all slaves of some kind and color. We just work for different masters. My people were taken from our homeland and sprinkled into fields around the world. Well, I think it's time to go home. That's the purpose of our music, to bring people together and take them home.'
24-7 Records boss Brian Hurst discovered the group in the U.S. and released the groups second outing, 'Spiritual War', in the U.K. during the year 2000.
By this time the group had become a quartet consisting of Collins (piano, keyboards and trumpet) who produced and wrote the majority of the album, Marcus Asante (drums), Ekendra Das (percussion) and Navasha Daya (lead vocals).
Navasha Daya is nicknamed 'The Spirit.'
Collins describes the music he writes as 'do songs' rather than 'not songs' and says he finds ways 'to deal with important social issues in a relaxed way, a fun way.'
'Seasons Change' followed the groups 2001 release, 'Perception' in 2002 on the Counterpoint label.
By this time Craig Alston (tenor saxophone / baritone) and Fred Dunn (trumpet / flugelhorn) had been added to the band's line-up.
Fertile Ground played the Jazz Cafe in London during 2001.
Field Songs (Blackout Records 1998)
Spiritual War (Orchard Records 2000)
Perception (Counterpoint Records 2001)
Seasons Change (Counterpoint Records 2002)
Black Is..(Counterpoint Records 2004)