Powell has been influenced by music throughout his life by his father, Max
Powell, the renown drummer and arranger. Little Vinson moved with his
family to the Denver area in the late fifties. At age 8, he was introduced
to the flute by "Akba," a musician that worked with his father at
was a quick learner," Powell said.
excelled in lessons and became the first chair flute player in all his
scholastic concert bands.
help of his father, Powell had the opportunity at a very young age to play
with many of the finer musicians in Denver. At 14, Powell worked with
pianist Bob Palmer, bassists Dave Summers Sr., D-Minor, Buddy Smith, Sam
Gill, guitarist Bob Gray, saxophone players Johnny Hartsfield, Rexell Hart,
Billy Tolles, Homer Brown, trumpeter Julius Ellabie, drummer Gene Bass, and
Allan Barnes of the BlackByrds. Flutist Marvin Hollenshed, another
associate of Max Powell, mentored Vinson in his studies of improvisation
and imparted the influence of Hubert Laws.
began playing in bands in the mid-1970's. In 1974 he spent several months
in Oakland, California, playing with a Denver band called Power
Unlimited. Upon his return to Denver, he began working with Pepper
Gomez, a radio DJ at KDKO 1510 AM, on several recording projects. At age
19, Powell's flute work was already being featured on commercial radio
spots and jingles.
this time, Powell met up with Rose Mosley, the manager of a youth band with
talented players from age 11 to 14. Powell joined the band as they headed
to a local recording studio to produce a demo audition tape. At the studio,
the owner of the studio and Infal Records, Victor Hernandez, noticed
Powell's avid curiosity about the technical aspects of recording.
was about this time that I really took a serious interest in the production
aspect of music, not just the performing," Powell said.
exchange for his help in moving the recording studio, Hernandez granted
Powell and the young band free time in the new recording studio.
Vinson was continuing to sit-in and perform with bands all over the Denver
area. The Dirty Dozen, SaSaDee, and Friends of Distinction
all invited Powell to play. The 1980s were a busy time for Powell, as he
played for and produced many of the more successful acts of the period. Seduction,
a long running night club act, performed at the People's Choice Lounge for
more than a year with Powell building and operating the lighting and
was at the People's Choice Lounge that I got the nickname 'Wizz,'"
this time Powell also played flute on two albums with an old musician
friend, Steve Elliot, who had become a DJ on KDKO. Powell joined Elliot as
an opening act for trumpeter Tom Brown at the old Rainbow Music Hall in
working with Seduction at the People's Choice Lounge, Powell was
invited to sit-in with pianistand vocalist Michael Whncoft. Natalie Cole
was in the audience that evening. Powell toured with Whncoft, and
experienced the success that Whncoft's album and tour enjoyed. A short time
later Powell moved to Los Angeles, and found himself engineering for former
members of Seduction and Legend. In LA, Powell ran into
more old musican friends, Johnny 'Chris' Wright and Darryl Woolfolk, who
helped Powell learn the LA scene. Powell began performing at The Five
Torches, Freddie Jetts Pied Piper, Marla's Memory Lane, and Nucleus Nuance.
Darryl Woolfolk, Powell came to know Andrew Woolfolk, saxophonist for Rock
n'Roll Hall of Fame inductee Earth Wind and Fire. Powell still
appreciates the strong spiritual and musical friendships that developed.
with Chris, Darryl and Andrew in church, with the living spirit of God, was
the best music and inspiration of a lifetime," Powell said.
travels through the 1980s and 90s, Powell has worked with Dick Griffey
(Solar Records), writer and arranger Ben Weisman (Elvis Presley),
producer Gene Rennfro, and producer William Bryant (Frankie Beverly,
George Clinton, Norman Weinfield, George Duke). Through it all, Powell
has gained a tremendous amount of insight into the world of professional recording
tracks with any good engineer is not what I'm talking about," Powell
said. "I have studied the production of the sound that the main stream
industry demands. I've learned the diversity required to meet the musical
satisfaction of audiences," he said.
spends his time sitting in with various bands and producing acts at venues
around Denver. Buckner Funken Jazz, Jakarta, Steve Carson and the New
G, Charisma, Joe Bonner, Joe Dilamo, Carl Jackson and Concepts, Ken Jenzens
Trio, Sheldon Johnson and the Bunch, Network, Doctor Tone and the Notes,
Funk Incorporate, Greg Goodloe, and The Notorious Funk Attack Band
have all benefited from Powell's production and guidance.
know, I've been in many cities and towns that were flooded with great
talent," Powell said. "I mean, there are so many musicians and
singers out there that you can lose count real fast. I work to find the
ones that have paid their dues, the ones that have polished their craft,
and really know the music. There aren't many out there like that today. So
with the cats I'm working with, I'm looking forward to making something out