Groundation is an American roots reggae band with jazz and dub influences, from Sonoma County in Northern California. It is named for Rastafarian ceremony of Grounation.[1]

Groundation after their concert in Brussels October 20th 2018
Groundation after their concert in Brussels October 20th 2018
Background information
OriginCalifornia, United States
GenresRoots reggae, Jazz fusion, Dub
Years active1998–present
LabelsYoung Tree
Associated actsDon Carlos
Israel Vibration
MembersHarrison Stafford
Will Blades
Isaiah Palmer
Jake Shandling
Brady Shammar
Aleca Smith
Eduardo Gross
Craig Berletti
Roger Cox
Groundation in concert in Brussels October 20th 2018
Groundation in concert in Brussels October 20th 2018
Groundation in concert in Brussels October 20th 2018
Harrison Stafford (2013)
Groundation performing at the 2006 Jamaican Reggae Festival in Kandel, Germany


Formed in the fall of 1998 by Harrison Stafford, Marcus Urani, and Ryan Newman, Groundation began on the campus of Sonoma State University's Jazz Program.[2] Between 1999 and 2001, Harrison Stafford taught the first course on the History of Reggae Music at the University.[2] In 1999, Stafford teamed up with Kris Dilbeck to found Young Tree Records and release Groundation's debut album Young Tree.[3] "Groundation" comes from the Rasta term "Grounation".

Grounation Day is an important Rastafarian holy day celebrated April 21, which commemorates Haile Selassie’s first visit to Jamaica in 1966. Grounation Day is second in importance to Coronation Day, which is celebrated November 2, in honor Haile Selassie’s Coronation in 1930.[4]

In 2000 they added to the line up David Chachere, a San Francisco-based jazz trumpeter, and Kelsey Howard, a North Bay trombone player.[2] Saxophonist Jason Robinson was a member of the band for a time, and has since gone on to become the head of the jazz program at UC San Diego. Drummer Paul Spina (Les Claypool, Will Bernard's Mother Bug) has been with the group since taking over for James Stafford in December 2001; he left the group in summer 2008. Kim Pommell and Kerry Ann Morgan (both graduates of Kingston's Ashe performing arts school) joined in 2006, and are featured lead vocalists on Groundation's 2009 release Here I Am. In 2012, vocalist Jhamiela Smith joined the group, daughter of legendary reggae guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, to sing chorus along with Kim Pommell. They are current chorus vocalists for Groundation.

The nine-piece band creates an altogether new reggae sound, featuring swirling, jazz/funk inspired horns, stout Latin and African based poly-rhythmics, and soulful harmony vocals. Their concerts utilize live improvisation, in classic jazz fashion, and are renowned for their high energy, communion-type atmosphere. Having gained international notoriety for their progressive fusion style, Groundation regularly plays at major international festivals like Summerjam.

The band uses analog instruments and recording equipment rather than digital, with Stafford explaining "No digital, we don't work with synthesisers. Just like in the 1970s we stick to that format."[2]

On the 2018 March 11th on their Facebook page, Groundation announce his returns after a 3 year hiatus, introducing new members and "The Next Generation".



  • Harrison Stafford – vocals, guitar
  • Will Blades - Organ and Clavinet - Keyboard player
  • Isaiah Palmer - Bass player
  • Joe Fagan - Drummer
  • Brady Shammar - Harmony vocalist
  • Alreca Smith - Harmony vocalist
  • Eduardo Gross - Guitarist
  • Craig Berletti - Keyboard & Trumpet
  • Roger Cox- Saxophone

Former membersEdit

  • Marcus Urani – b3, keyboards
  • Ryan Newman – bass
  • David Chachere – trumpet
  • Te Kenawa Haereiti aka. Rufus – drums
  • Kim Pommell – chorus
  • Sherida Sharpe – chorus
  • Nicholas Daniel Wlodarczyk – trombone
  • Jason Robinson – sax, flute
  • Paul Spina – drums (from December 2001 to July 2008; credited as a guest on some more recent albums).
  • James Stafford – drums (on the first two albums)
  • Shawna Anderson – chorus (from 1999 to 2004)
  • Adaria Armstrong – chorus (2004)
  • Jeannine Guillory – chorus (2005)
  • Ekua Impraim – chorus (2005)
  • Ikesha Johnson – chorus (2006)
  • Benjamin Krames – congas, timbales, percussion (in 2007, during Mingo's break)
  • Kelsey Howard – trombone (from 2000–2012)
  • Kerry-Ann Morgan – chorus (from 2006–2012)
  • Mingo Lewis Jr. – congas, timbales, percussion (2003–2013)


Studio albumsEdit


  1. ^ "Groundation  » Press". Retrieved 4 July 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Campbell-Livingston, Cecelia (2012) "Groundation Sticks to Basics", Jamaica Observer, 5 June 2012, retrieved 2012-06-05
  3. ^ "Groundation  » Music Player". Retrieved 4 July 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Rastafarianism". Retrieved 2015-11-03. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit