Image by Nainoa Shizuru

BAND BIOS

Raya Zion

Lead Vocalist 

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and raised in a Sephardic and Mizrachi family, Raya grew up hearing Middle Eastern and Western musical styles.   It was when Raya first saw Tina Turner that she decided to be a rock and blues queen. Raya’s deep emotions and love of music make her performances dynamic interactive experiences. Her versatility, experience in performing a wide range of musical genres, and fronting a 9-piece R&B and Funk horn band for over 15 years have given Raya the chops to Rock the House……and she Does!!

DAVE CHRISTIAN

Guitarist, Songwriter, Producer 

Born in Charleston, West Virginia. Dave started playing guitar at the early age of 10. His playing style covers all the bases from classic Rock, through Funk and Jazz. He played in several bands while a member of the US Air Force, including the band “Raven Rock”, and a tour of Germany, as a member of the rock group “Matrix”. His skills as producer/recording engineer have graced many Bay area Gospel, R&B, and Rap music projects, including, The Triumph Family, Rev. Fleetwood Irving (Stellar Award Nominee), rapper, Chunk, C-Funk, Tenda Tee, Mowtown artist Colin England, and Two Live Crew’s “Mr. Mixx”. Also as a dance music producer, he has produced tracks for Mixx-It, Nu Gruv, and Turbo Beat records. His own label, Rezin8 Records, has produced several House/Dance tracks that have filled the dance floors in clubs around the world.

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MICHAEL LEE

Keyboards, Vocals 

A Bay Area native, Michael first got the music bug when he played accordion in public at age 6…he’s now semi-reformed, moving on to other keyboard instruments. Through the years, he has played in numerous cover and original bands in Northern California. At UC Berkeley, he studied and researched esoteric music applications of computers and electronics. He plays a wide range of genres from classical, jazz, funk, reggae, rock, and all combinations mixed together.

Zack Wilhite
Drums
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The sticks chose Zack at the early age of 10 when his piano teacher suggested that he switch to drums.  Since then, Zack has played in jazz, alternative and classic rock, world music, and church bands throughout the Bay Area.   His love of jazz has introduced him to his drummer mentors Steve Gadd, David Garibaldi, and Stewart Copeland.   Zack is devoted to music education and coaches future drummers at the Reike Community Center.  His work with the Reike Center has also allowed him to tour Spain annually with a 15-piece jazz band.

While not playing with the Groove Objective,  Zack plays with his World Music trio,  participates in Jazz Jams, and volunteers at organic farmer's markets promoting local produce.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Brian Shira
Bass Guitar
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Brian grew up in San Luis Obispo county and started playing bass guitar at age 12. At 16, he was recording at the world class recording studio Santa Barbara Sound with seasoned players three times his age. By 18, he was a full-time professional musician playing venues throughout SLO county. In 1995, he moved to the Bay Area and quickly formed the Funk/Jazz/Jam band Tree O Frogs. For 10+ years, TOF would regularly perform at noted Bay Area venues, music festivals, and toured nationally. A personal highlight was performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Brian now lives in San Francisco where he builds custom guitar effects pedals for some prominent musicians and performs music whenever possible!

Yale Friend
Trumpet
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Born in Washington, DC, Yale has been playing trumpet since the age of 9. After discovering a love for jazz in high school, he went on to Brown University to study electrical engineering. While at Brown, Yale studied jazz with the venerable Ed Tomassi; and when not in a lab, performed extensively throughout Rhode Island and released an album and EP as an original member of R&B/Neo-soul groups KiwiiSour and Orange Guava Passion, respectively. Yale moved to the Bay Area in September 2019 to work as a Hardware Engineer at Pure Storage, but is thrilled to be continuing his double life as a musician as well.