b. Allan Bentley Gumbs, 3rd September 1949, New York, U.S.A.
Onaje Allan Gumbs is an accomplished pianist, keyboardist, producer, arranger and songwriter.
He has worked in the music business for more than 27 years with a long list of jazz, R & B and pop artists.
Onaje has worked in several fields of music and with many different artists including Woody Shaw, Nat Adderly, Norman Connors, Angela Bofill, Jean Carne, Cassandra Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Sadao Watanabe, Phyllis Hyman ('The Answer Is You' from her 'Somewhere in My Lifetime' album), Stanley Jordan, Deniece Williams, Vanessa Rubin, Jeffrey Osborne, Eddie Murphy, Rebbie Jackson, and Gerald Albright ('Live at Birdland West').
He also worked on Will Downing's 1991 album 'A Dream Fulfilled'.
Onaje resides in Harlem-Queens and was encouraged by his parents to join the church choir when he was a child.
A few years later he started taking piano lessons.
Onaje studied music in school and college, taking courses at the Manhattan School of Art.
He is classically trained.
In 1974, he created a special arrangement of 'Stella By Starlight' for the New York Jazz Repertory Company as a part of a concert honouring Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall.
In the same year, Onaje performed with Woody Shaw.
In 1976, Onaje provided the arrangement on 'Betcha By Golly Wow' for the late songstress Phyllis Hyman.
He then followed on with live and recorded performances with such artists as Lenny White, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee and Betty Carter.
Then Onaje joined forces with trumpeter Nat Adderley and his quintet, contributing to the group's recordings on Atlantic and Steeplechase.
Nils Winter of the latter label was impressed by Gumbs' solo improvisations on several of Adderley's performances and approached the young pianist that same year to record a solo piano album, 'Onaje'.
In 1985, Onaje moved on contributing his arrangement of 'Lady in My Life' to guitarist Stanley Jordan's album 'Magic Touch'.
The record held the number one spot on Billboard's jazz charts for 37 weeks.
The pianist recorded two albums for MCA entitled 'That Special Part of Me' (1988) and 1991's 'Dare to Dream'.
In 2001, Onaje contributed to Carmen Lundy's album 'This Is Carmen Lundy'.
Onaje's most recent album is entitled 'Remember Their Innocence' for his own imprint Ejano Music.
That Special Part of Me (MCA Records 1988)
Dare to Dream (MCA Records 1991)
First Time We Met (Zebra Records 1995)
Onaje (Steeplechase Records 1995)
Remember Their Innocence (Ejano Music Records 2001)