Causeway – known to friends and fans for bridging the gap between yesterday and today – puts their spin of contemporary jazz, samba, guajira, and even a little mambo with favorite hymns of yesterday.  David Arivett, founder of the Christian Jazz Artists Network, writes “Causeway is the cream of the crop for this genre.”


Hurricane Andrew caused much destruction in South Florida, but it was directly responsible for forming Causeway.  In the aftermath of that devastating storm, organizers of the 1993 Miami Easter Sunrise Service desired a "home touch" feel to parallel the City of Miami's We Will Rebuild campaign. Enlisting Todd Billingsley to form a group of local musicians for the service, Billingsley selected four musicians from the South Florida music scene that he knew to be believers – Rey Sánchez, music director and producer for Sony artists Chayanne and Braulio; Fofi Lancha, former drummer for Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine and current drummer for Univision TV shows Sabado Gigante and Don Francisco Presenta; Ken Kosicki, bass player who toured with Wayne Watson; and Ed Maina, sax player who has toured with Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, and most recently Linda Eder.


In designing the sound of the group Billingsley explained, “I wanted to capture some of the jazz influences I enjoy––artists like Pat Metheny, Larry Carlton, Four Play, and Spyro Gyra.  Maina brings so much soul and emotion to the table with his playing.  Then having the likes of Rey Sanchez and Fofi––both Cuban-born and steeped with vast experience in Latin music––that brought an extra fun spice to the mix.”  The newly formed group performed "Because He Lives," which Billingsley arranged specifically for the service.  The tune now appears on Causeway's 1996 debut CD.


The following Easter, University Baptist Church of Coral Gables launched its Saturday night worship targeted for young adults.  The staff approached Todd Billingsley to form and develop the band.  Billingsley enlisted the same members that appeared at the Miami Easter Sunrise Service the previous year, but added a new member to the mix––percussionist, Cookie Lopez. This red-headed Puerto Rican-raised lady, who had just completed touring with Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, immediately heated things up another notch, making Causeway’s sound en fuego.


Word of mouth spread quickly about the band.  It took on the name Causeway in 1996, and released its debut CD. Causeway appeared at numerous concerts, conventions, and conferences nationwide – sharing the stage with the likes of Tony Evans, Luis Palau, Zig Ziglar, and even appeared in the festivities of Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999 and Super Bowl XLI in 2007.


Once the out-of-town dates began cropping up, the group added drummer Jay Drake to the mix because of Fofi’s obligations to the TV shows.  “Now we have the best of both worlds,” explains Billingsley.  “Jay provides that laid-back R&B groove feel while Fofi brings that ‘in-front-of-the-beat’ Latin fire.”


In 2001 the band released its second CD, Unconditional Love Jazz, to rave reviews. "As promised," writes Michael C. of SmoothChristianJazz.com, “the second offering from Causeway brings jazz with 'bite' to the table for fans craving aggressive Latin flavor." David Arivett of the Christian Jazz Artists Network adds, “Both of their CDs are classic recordings...they are a ‘must-have’!” 


As David Carnes of The Church Musician Today magazine writes, "Blessed are the bridge-builders who are effectively bridging cultures, preferences, and worship styles in order to reach the world around them. Causeway is truly a 'bridge-builder'.”

 

bio

Recommended If You Like

Four Play

Spyro Gyra

Pat Metheny

Alex Acuña

David Benoit

Larry Carlton

Pete Escovedo

“Causeway is the 
cream of the crop 
for this genre!”
–– David Arivett, founder
Christian Jazz Artists Networkhttp://www.songsofdavid.com/christianjazzartists.shtmlshapeimage_1_link_0

(Pictured from left to right above)


Ed Maina

Sax / Flute / EWI


Jay Drake

Drums


Cookie Lopez

Percussion


Todd Billingsley

Piano & Keyboards


Fofi Lancha

Drums


Rey Sanchez

Guitar


Ken Kosicki

Bass


“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

Bridging contemporary & Latin jazz of today with hymns of yesterday

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