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Quiet Storm


Mustered out of the Marine Corps, guitarist Donald Berry joined the younger Charles in Geno Williams’ assemblage, and Mo Stevenson’s brother Hank made a logical fit for bass. Randy Barber’s younger guitar-playing sibling Mikel was a natural for the ongoing rehearsals, which were held several times a week at his childhood home on Thomas Avenue. Early on, the folksters and the R&B cohort coexisted and performed as Snow Country Productions. The resourceful Martin would parlay his job with Metropolitan Community College in downtown Minneapolis into steady bookings for the diverse bundle, mostly at fraternity and sorority cohabitations throughout the Twin Cities statistical area.
Meanwhile, trumpeter Robert “Bird” Martin- with his first child on the way- disembarked from Flyte Tyme in October of 1975, figuring that a greener band would demand less of a new father. Martin had intended to bring a horn section to his new group, but when such plans fizzled, he took his instrument to Tressman’s Music at 60th and Nicollet, who fitted its mouthpiece with a transducer, electrifying his horn’s issuance with chorus, echo, and distortion effects. The resulting six-piece- two Berrys, two Stevensons, Barber, and Martin- continued to back their singing manager Geno Williams, but drifted out from under the Snow Country Productions umbrella. They began identifying themselves as Quiet Storm, unaware of the same-named 1976 Smoky Robinson single that went on to foreground an entire musical movement. Regarding their arrival at the Quiet Storm name, “We started softer, but wound up vicious,” Donald Berry said.


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