Meet The Maxwell Project
Jeff Aston – lead vocals and trumpet
A founding member of Maxwell, Jeff started singing as a pre-schooler (no joke) and began playing trumpet at age 8. At 15, he began his musical career as a trumpet player and backup singer with Maxwell predecessor, The Soul System. With impressive vocal chops, he emerged to sing lead and co-front Maxwell in 1979. As the band's long-time musical arranger, he produced Maxwell's first two albums, including the local radio hits “Radiation Funk” and “A New Star.” He also co-produced the band’s most recent CD, "Jamaphonic." Today, in addition to being a strong trumpet player and talented arranger, he continues to deliver the powerful, soulful vocals that have been his trademark over the years.
Kathy Matthews Aston (Kat) – lead vocals
Kathy showed vocal talent as early as age six and started her musical career at 18, singing, playing guitar, and recording original music with acoustic duo Matthews & Whitney. In 1980, she landed the lead vocal spot with Maxwell, with whom she recorded an album and performed in concert with The Spinners and Tom Browne. She also had brief stints with R&B band, The Glow, and the Danny Stuber Jazz Quartet. In 1984, Kathy joined Norristown-based funk group Half Moon for several Quebec Canada tours. She was a regular performer in Atlantic City and traveled to Osaka, Japan with the band Silver Screen. Kathy has done session work at Power Station, Electric Lady, and Record Plant studios in NYC, and had a “bit part” in the movie “Heart” with Brad Davis. Kathy rejoined Maxwell, now The Maxwell Project, in 2002, appearing with the Stylistics and Philly Intruders for the band’s 2003 NYE concert. She sang on and contributed music and lyrics to TMP’s 2005 CD, “Jamaphonic.”
Vance McGhee - lead vocals and trombone
Vance’s vocals, which shift from a richly textured tenor into a Phillip Bailey-style falsetto, draw fans wherever the band performs. He is well known for his impressive rendition of the Earth, Wind, and Fire classic – “Reasons.” Before joining The Maxwell Project in 2005, he performed with Norristown-based funk powerhouse “The Half Moon Band” followed by his own Top-40 groups, Silver Screen and City Lights Orchestra. He began his career at 18 with Norristown bands The Cashmeres and Aphrodesia, playing trombone and singing backing vocals. Vance’s performing experience includes extensive travel throughout the East Coast, Quebec, and Japan. He was also a regular performer at Caesar’s, Trump Plaza, and Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Vance played, sang, and contributed music to TMP’s latest CD, “Jamaphonic.”
Corby Myers – guitar and backing vocals
Corby is a founding member of Maxwell and a talented and prolific composer who has written several of the group’s most popular original songs, including the local hit “A New Star.” He has appeared with the group in concert with The Spinners, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Stylistics, The Trammps, Philly Intruders, LTD, Cactus, and other R&B legends. Corby was also the guitarist for Liquid Smoke and The Charlie Van Horn Big Band. In addition to his musical talents, he holds a doctorate in adult education and psychoeducational processes, is a published author in his field, and has taught college classes in criminal justice administration. He is an avid runner and has completed over 20 marathons and several 50-mile ultra-marathons and triathlons.
Allen Roth - bass
After majoring in music at Lebanon Valley College, Allen started a widely varied music career, touring extensively in the U.S., Europe, and Puerto Rico. As the bassist for Maxwell in the late 70s, he performed on the group’s regional hits, “Radiation Funk” and “A New Star.” In 1980, Allen left Maxwell to join the group Atlantic Crossing, eventually shifting to country music as a member of the Younger Brothers Band, who had two national-chart hits, and “Shucks,” who scored a #1 song on national independent record charts, toured extensively, and drew thousands of fans. As a free-lance bass player, Allen has played for Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Robert Goulet, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, the Platters, and the Smothers Brothers. He appeared with Sally Struthers in the show "Always, Patsy Cline", and shared the stage with such notables as Marie Osmond, Willie Nelson, Wayne Newton, and George Strait.
Ben Ninmann - keyboards
Originally from Virginia, Ben came to Pennsylvania by way of North Carolina, Long Island, New York and Flint, Michigan, picking up different rock, soul and jazz influences from each place. His time in Long Island included stints with recording groups, Liquid Smoke, and Alive & Kicking (“Tighter and Tighter”.) In Flint, Ben performed with Nyte Flyte, who eventually moved to Lancaster and were busy in the local music scene during the 80s and 90s. Since then, he has appeared with The Mystery Jazz Trio and has played solo piano at The Greenfield Restaurant for over 20 years. He also fills the piano chair when The Diamonds—whose hits include “Little Darling” and “The Stroll”—play in the area. Ben likes many musical styles but is most fond of playing old-school R&B and soul "from back when the funk was pure," and jazz, particularly in the classic Hammond organ trio setting. Shifting from solo and trio work to a band with a big horn section is a fun challenge for Ben. He enjoys both the similarities and differences that playing with The Maxwell Project brings when compared to the smaller settings.
Steve “Shaulls” Lentz – sax and backing vocals
Steve started on clarinet at age 8, and by junior high, he was performing with his musically talented family’s 15-piece big band. He has played all types of music, beginning in high school with The Serenaders Jazz Band, whose alumni include Dick Price, Tim Warfield, and Chris Bacon, and the Crown Royals soul band (when he switched to tenor sax). While attending Austin Peay University, where he earned a BA in music education, he played with rock, soul and variety bands in and around Nashville. After graduating, he spent two years as a staff musician at the New Opryland Park before returning to his hometown of York, PA. Steve is best known in Central PA for his stint with “Hit and Run,” with whom he recorded and toured for eight years, opening for Pat Benatar, the Trammps, and other recording acts. He describes his experience with TMP as a “throwback to a time when money was not my first priority and I played in bands for the love of performing live. There is nothing like it.”
José Johnson – trumpet and backing vocals
José Johnson is a Harrisburg, PA-based free-lance musician who has been performing, writing, and arranging music professionally since the age of 16. His eclectic taste in music has allowed him to move between such genres as jazz, swing, funk, R&B, pop, and most recently, electronic music. Over the years, he has established himself as a dynamic trumpet player, a versatile vocalist, and a masterful arranger. His work with local bands such as The Maxwell Project, The Impact Band, Big Tubba Mista, The Greatest Funeral Ever, Life on Mercury, The Mystery Jazz Trio, and Groove Jones has made him a mainstay of the Harrisburg, PA music scene.
Robin Church -Trumpet
Born in Dodge City, Kansas, Robin came from a musical family. His grandfather, mother, aunts, uncles, and both brothers all played musical instruments or sang. Robin began piano lessons in kindergarten. Trumpet lessons didn't begin until the ripe old age of 8. His early professional experience included several tours through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas with the Rural Electric Association, an organ trio. After moving to Central PA, Robin established a reputation as a hired gun, performing with local bands D.C. & Co, The SilverHawks, Johnny Bravo Combo, Dave Holt Band, the Uptown Band, Nitrophonic Orchestra, and the Hershey Big Band. He also recently played trumpet at the Lincoln Center in NYC with the Hershey Symphony Orchestra. Robin played trumpet many years at Lancaster's Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, played both trumpet and keyboards for several years in the orchestra pit at the American Music Theater, and has backed several national recording artists including B.J. Thomas and Li’l Eva (Locomotion).
Andre "Dre" Green - Drums
Andre’ has been playing drums since discovering the instrument as a young child performing in the school marching and stage/concert bands. While stationed in Europe with the military, he performed with various groups. After being discharged, he relocated to Munich Germany and performed with groups spanning genres, from African music to rock. Andre's own band specialized in R&B / New Jack Swing and music of four decades.
He appeared on a popular TV show (Gotschalk ) , Brandy and Ray J (remake of Another Day in Paradise), and also performed in the Munich Germany State theater production "Othello". Andre's experience also includes tours of Europe with various Gospel groups. While performing with his own band “ Basically Black,” famed singer Chris DeBarge (Lady In Red) joined them on stage to perform a song.
Portrait photography by Cindy Roth Photography