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Meet the Band / Fertile Ground


Hometown: Baltimore

Current members: James Collins, keyboards; Navasha Daya, vocals; Craig Alston, saxophone; Freddie Dunn, trumpet; Lionel Lyles, trombone; Ekendra Das, percussion; Joel Mills, guitar; Mark Prince, drums.

Founded in: 1997

Style: Soul / R&B; / jazz / world music

Influenced by: No definite influences that the entire band can agree upon, though Collins said the act is frequently compared to an early Earth, Wind & Fire.

Notable: In its seven-year history, the locally based and internationally known act has released three critically acclaimed recordings on Collins' own independent label, Blackout Studios. Seasons Change, the octet's latest effort, has sold more than 20,000 copies, bringing the group's career album sales to about 75,000 units.

Quotable: James Collins, on keeping peace with his bandmates while touring the globe: "We spend an excruciating amount of time together. We fly to Japan, and it's 18 hours in the air. [When] you're sitting there with someone for 18 hours, you're gonna get to know them. And that's just the flight there. [Being in a band] doesn't stop, and it is intense. You can't kind of do it. It's just like a family -- sometimes you just gotta suck it up."

Check out Fertile Ground, performing Saturday at the Funk Box. Also billed is the Latin / jazz / pop outfit the Nicki Gonzalez Band. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Doors open at 9 p.m. The Funk Box is at 10 E. Cross St. Call 410-625-2000 or visit

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