Maze hits the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Florida, Friday, January 30th. The Jacksonville Free Press had a chance to speak to longtime Maze featuring Frankie Beverly group member, conga and background vocalist Roame Lowry; and he had lots to say about the history of the band. “Before Maze we were called Raw Soul. And in 1972 we moved to California from Philly. Then we signed with Capital Records in 1975. Management didn’t like our name so we pondered and I am came up with the name Maze and it stuck!” Roame elaborated, “We’ve been touring since 1976 to Japan, Europe and more, our longevity has sustained us.” Moving on Roame continued, “We haven’t produced an album in 20 years and we’re still going strong. When asked about current trends in music, “Pop culture is now rap. R&B is still hitting across many boundaries, but you have to mix up your albums now. Also make sure you have someone around you that you trust to do the right thing and stay true to what you believe. It’s so easy to get in the business, but you have to stay in the business. We have 3 and 4 generations of fans, it’s incredible!” Last but not least, Roame smiled through the phone, “we are blessed to have the members that we have and a great system in place. That’s what keeps Maze together, cause we’re still relevant.”
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly bio reflects more history and dialogue: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly arrived on the scene in 1977 with a string of hits including Happy Feelings, Lady of Magic, While I’m Alone and Workin’ Together. And the soul classics continued with Golden Time Of Day, Southern Girl, Joy and Pain, We Are One, Running Away, Back In Stride, Can’t Get Over You, Silky Soul and The Morning After.
The essential must-have Maze albums include Joy and Pain (1980), Live In New Orleans (1981), We Are One (1983), Can’t Stop The love (1985) and Live in Los Angeles (1986). Maze was saluted by Mary J. Blige, Avant, Ledisi and other acts on the 2009 hit CD, Silky Soul Music: An All-
Star Tribute To Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly.
Maze’s fans are familiar with the band’s rise to fame. A native of Philadelphia, Beverly grew up singing in church and later formed a group called The Butlers when he was a teenager. He later changed the name to Frankie Beverly’s Raw Soul.
The band’s star began to rise in the mid 70s when Marvin Gaye caught their show in the San Francisco/Oakland area. He took them on the road as his opening act and urged them to change their name from Raw Soul. Original member Roame came up with the name Maze and the rest, as they say, is musical history.
Beverly loves to talk about two of his biggest inspirations—Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke. “I was Frankie Lymon crazy when he came on the scene. People would call me ‘Little Frankie.’ My name is Howard, but I took the name Frankie from Frankie Lymon. I used to sing Frankie Lymon songs on street corners. People use to throw me money,” he recalls.
Beverly says he will never forget meeting Sam Cooke at Philly’s Uptown Theater. “We were trying to get his autograph. We said, “Mr. Cooke, Mr. Cooke, can you sign mine?’ He said, ‘Have you guys ever been back stage?’ Well, come on.”
Cooke treated Beverly and his friends “like we were his kids.” That chance meeting had a tremendous impact on Beverly. To this day, he always makes time for his fans. “I don’t turn people down. I always think of Sam Cooke and how kind and patient he was. He didn’t have to do that for us.”
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly:
Frankie Beverly (lead vocals)
Roame (congas/ background vocals)
Carl Wheeler (keyboards/synthesizers)
Jubu (rhythm/lead guitar)
Larry Kimpel (bass guitar)
Calvin Napper (drums)
Vance Taylor (keyboards/synthesizers)