Ntranze, the long-time house band at the House of Blues, is the latest addition to the exciting schedule of performers at the third annual Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival. They’ll be part of three days of live jazz, soul and R&B music to be presented between Sept. 28-30, 2018 on the Grand Strand.
Founded more than 15 years ago by Grady Avery, Ntranze has been hailed by the Myrtle Beach Sun-News for “combining a danceable variety of music – from Motown, beach music and R&B, to funk, classic rock, reggae and hip-hop.” Ntranze were featured at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach from 1987-2013, where they opened for music legends like Hall and Oates, the Little River Band, KC and the Sunshine Band, the Gap Band, Michael McDonald and Aaron Neville, among many others.
Avery handles bass and vocals; Ntranze is rounded out by Mark Ackles on vocals and keyboards, Torey Booka Grice on drums, Emily Ryan on vocals and percussion, and L.D. Worley on vocals and guitar. Regulars on Murrells Inlet’s famous MarshWalk, Ntranze has also performed in the “Music On Main Street” Summer Concert Series, as well as venues in Charleston, North Myrtle Beach, Conway and Little River, S.C., and corporate and private parties across the region.
Mark Ackles began his long musical association with Avery after a chance meeting during an open-mic night at a bar in downtown Myrtle Beach. “When he needed a keyboard player, he called me and I jumped at the chance,” Ackles told the Sun-News. “I guess that was 2006, so I am the longest surviving member of the band now.”
He joined his first band while still attending Benedict College in Columbia. A native of Rock Hill, S.C., Grady Avery transplanted to Myrtle Beach two decades ago. “We came down for the summer, and when the season came to an end, I told him I wanted to stay down here,” Avery added. Avery later toured as part of the backing band for Crystal Waters of “Gypsy Woman” fame. Ntranze emerged out of the Tony Blunt Project, which had earlier served as the house band at the House of Blues.
As always, the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival is free. Bring lawn chairs for this special event, to be held on historic Carver Street in Myrtle Beach. In addition to this great music, there will be food and merchandise vendors, children’s activities, and a wine and beer garden.
More lineup announcements for this year’s festival are forthcoming, so check back often. You can also get the latest information by following the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival on Facebook.