The Awakening

The Awakening

 New York City, New York, USA

An original eclectic ensemble built by 30+ year performing electric bassist Frank Stokes as a vehicle for the performance of his high energy jazz, fusion, funk, Latin and Native American music.


Headlining electric bassist from legendary 1970's gigs like Max's Kansas City on Halloween 1976 into the 21st century, Frank Stokes, a Brooklyn based sound engineer and producer evolved The Awakening from a trio into an octet exploring his decades of composing across genres while painting and drawing the artwork of his visions. Musical already, just old enough to stand on his own two feet, he was a child dropped off to spend days within a Downtown Brooklyn theatre where a relative worked. Backstage for years from the fifties into the sixties he'd meet Alan Freed, see Little Stevie Wonder with Murray The K and was inspired by Little Richard above all others as the tours came through, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Penguins, Jerry Lee Lewis playing a piano with his feet, Bill Haley and the Comets, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Ronettes, Frank Stokes remembers the glow of a spotlight shining on Jackie Wilson, ten feet away. Playing bass in bars by fourteen he was known as 'The Iceman' when he anchored Osmosis, a nine piece funk band. Frank Stokes spent years auditioning and assembling bands, along the way jamming with Marky Ramone and Neon Leon, recording where tape was rolling, becoming known as a one man wall of sound by the time he joined Kongress in 1976, playing with acts like Suicide and the Dead Boys opening. Founded by Otto von Ruggins, Kongress was fronted by the Australian Society Of Magicians' Magician Of The Year, inventor of the Dancing Cane illusion, the late Geoffrey Crozier, whom Frank Stokes also backed in a second act known as Shanghai Side Show. With an electric chair onstage before Warhol painted his and with Crozier's cauldron sending a solid column of flame up eight feet high as potions simmered away Kongress was banned from CBGB's when a flash pot opened up and the heat singed Hilly's beard. Shanghai Side Show included jesting roadies working as clowns, with both acts featuring the use of trunkloads of props Crozier brought halfway around the world. Frank Stokes performed with a flamethrower firing off of a gas canister mounted on the back of the headstock of the bass he played for audiences as large as 150,000 people and Brooklyn block parties while headlining downtown and opening in Dover, New Jersey for acts including Jack Bruce. Shanghai Side Show appeared as an instant spectacle for startled onlookers when the crew tapped a light pole along Brooklyn's Shore Road. They also played at the Brooklyn disco where Saturday Night Fever was filmed before breaking up in 1979. Frank Stokes then ran a Brooklyn recording studio as his evolution from fire breathing rock star to serious jazz composer was spurred on by a chance meeting with Jaco Pastorius. Walking from CBGB's after an audition Frank saw Jaco sitting under a tree with a basketball clutched to his stomach. They chatted, then two nights later Jaco surprised Frank by calling him. Frank had a car bring Jaco across the river. Jaco played Chromatic Fantasy on the bass scorched on the back of its headstock by the flamethrower. With two musician friends Jaco spent the night on piano and drums. Frank played a song he'd just written, Prelude, and no, there wasn't the lecture Frank expected, Frank Stokes remembers Jaco being explicit, direct, urging him to form a band. From 1995 onward The Awakening has grown from the band Frank Stokes founded to play his original music into what is now a high-energy production combining music and dance, Frank Stokes performing as an electric bassist with two drummers holding degrees from Berklee and Juilliard, one of whom, Randy Whitehead, also plays a Native American courting flute he carved himself. The Awakening Horns are Dave Morgan, a tenor, flute and clarinet player praised by The New York Times for his work with Ornette Coleman, and Mac Gollehon, a trumpet master whose credits include work with Jaco Pastorius, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. Releasing the albums Dance Tunes in 2002 and Visions in 2005, for the first time Frank Stokes recorded himself as a vocalist and an electric guitarist. Frank Stokes is also a painter and fine line illustrator working to honor his Native American heritage, producing a drawing or series of drawings to set the scene as each of his songs uses the power of music to tell a story. Dance floor grooves, Native American, Latin, Funk and World rhythms are combined with more contemplative numbers to stimulate mind, body and spirit, sending healing energy in all directions.


Albums: Dance Tunes (2002) Visions (2005) Walk With Me (2008) Visions is available on iTunes & at CDbaby

Set List

This band plays the original music of Frank Stokes in three hour three set gigs.