Inner City All Stars

Inner City All Stars

 Dallas, Texas, USA

“The Inner City All-Stars play highly energetic music that’s fun to listen to and requires crowd participation. The All-Stars’show is not a spectator sport; you become part of the action. The sound is a mixture of hip-hop, soul, and call and response and a whole lot of big BRASS, JAZZ AND FUNK!”


• National TV Performance Showtime at the Apollo in NYC
• 2010 Juried Showcase winners for the Performing Arts Exchange & Western Arts Alliance Performing Arts Conferences
• Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities 2008 “BEST BAND” OF the Year"
• Armed Forces Entertainment Tour of Japan, Guam, and Okinawa
• Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Neighborhood Touring Roster Artis
• Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster Artist
• Mid-America Arts AllianceTouring Roster Artist
• Appearance on comedian Ricky Smiley’s Big City Talent with Wyclef of the Fugees
• Support band For Grammy Winners Brave Combo,The Family Stone,Morris Day, Bo Diddley, Bowling for Soup,ReBirth Brass Band

September, 2004, Harlem, USA: The famed Apollo Theater may have seen better days, but on this early fall night, it’s bumpin’. There’s an electric crackle in the air as the audience members find their seats –even when they settle in, they still squirm and squiggle, antsy, knowing tonight they’re here for something special: a TV taping of Showtime at the Apollo. Dozens of singers, dancers and bands will take the stage tonight. All competing in this, one of the world’s most famous amateur nights, and it is the audience’s job to judge whether or not these acts are good enough to move on to the next round of competition. The Apollo crowd is famous for its brutally high standards; it usually votes “no,” resoundingly. The first hint of a sour note or an ill-timed dance step manifests a chorus of gleefully raucous boos, a cascade of disapproval so enthusiastic, spectators cringe watching the defeated contestants slink off the stage . This audience can smell blood, the performers know it. The contestants don’t take the Apollo stage on amateur night to succeed; they take the stage on this particular night merely to survive.
On the rarest of occasions, however, there is an exception and on this particular night, a miracle occurs even before the first commercial break: Showtime host Mo’nique announces the first act, and a small squadron of musicians marches out, clad in matching dark suits and armed with worn brass instruments –tuba, trumpet, a pair of saxophones. One man—striking in his black blazer—bears a trombone at his side with a familiar confidence, like Babe Ruth languidly holding his bat. The players stride out and hit their stage marks with a hard precision, lift their instruments to their lips and boom! They blast out the opening riff of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious,” that familiar funky collection of tightly coiled hooks and revolving riffs. The audience’s collective, doubtful smirk shifts upward into a smile. A few folks stand up, arms raised, hips moving. They’re alright, they’re alright…The band shifts into second gear, the drummer’s sticks snapping against the snare –pulling the audience to its feet en masse. In a few more seconds, 1,500 people are clapping along, fists pumping…aww, yeah, this crew might be OK. Suddenly, the band takes a hard right turn, away from Stevie and into the party-pleasing Kool and the Gang riff that anchors the hip-hop classic “Let Me Clear my Throat,” and now it’s really on: The audience can’t get enough: they are swaying, shouting, swinging along as the tuba player turns and shakes his ass and the trombone player jumps and gyrates like a drum major. At the peak of this glee, the band pumps out a final brass salvo, and the drummer abruptly puts on the breaks. The medley is done, and the audience, sweaty from dancing, releases a final collective howl of approval. There’s not a boo in the house. That’s how you open up the Apollo, baby! Mo’nique shouts into her microphone s the group leaves the stage. That’s how you open it up!
The band is called the Inner City All Stars. The man with the trombone is their leader, Calvin Sexton.
Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Sexton began concocting the concept of the Inner City All Stars in 1996, when he arrived at the University of North Texas to study music performance at one of the best jazz programs in the country. Sexton came armed with a clever musical mind, an infectious smile, and a love of the spirited, high-energy marching music of historically black colleges and universities he had grown up with in the Deep South. Sexton’s road to UNT started with a youthful musical intensity. He first picked up a trombone in the 7th grade, but his parents couldn’t afford to buy him the instrument. At an age where most kids would probably lose interest, Sexton merely redoubled his determination, eventually finagling a job selling hot dogs and soft drinks at the Alabama A&M football stadium, even though he was grossly underage so that he could buy the horn himself. “I probably shouldn’t be talking about it,” he says, with a laugh, of his stint at the stadium, “since it’s illegal!” Alabama A&M is also where the marching bands caught his eye. Like many other African-American Birmingham denizens, Sexton made sure to attend the ann


Gotta Move On 2008
DVD Live at the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival 2007

Set List

2 hours of high audience participation with great original and cover music, plus a Tuba player who can scratch like a DJ! How cool is that!