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Zo!

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Biography

A keyboardist first, and also a bassist, guitarist, drummer, and producer, Lorenzo "Zo!" Ferguson balanced his love of music and baseball throughout his childhood. The native Detroiter was drafted as an outfielder by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996, rounds ahead of then-future MLB all-stars Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, and Barry Zito. Ferguson accepted a full-ride baseball scholarship to Western Kentucky, however, and earned a degree in graphic design. Shortly thereafter, in 2001, he began his recording career with Ablyss, the first of several instrumental releases. His profile increased throughout the next several years as he issued albums like Passion & Definition (2004), the Asylum 7 collaboration Overdue Process (2009), and a pair of covers EPs dubbed Just Visiting, on which he was joined by guest vocalists on reinterpretations of songs by Anita Baker, Minnie Riperton, the Jones Girls, and Don Blackman. All the while, he was earning a Master's degree in special education and logging hours of session work with the likes of Athletic Mic League, Slum Village, Platinum Pied Pipers, and members of the extended Foreign Exchange family. His SunStorm, released in July 2010, was the culmination of his frequent run-ins with the Foreign Exchange and its many affiliates. It featured collaborations with Phonte, Darien Brockington, Carlitta Durand, and YahZarah, as well as Sy Smith, Lady Alma, and Monica Blaire. In May 2013, he released a sharper second album on Foreign Exchange's label, titled ManMade. Many of his familiar associates, along with Gwen Bunn, 1-O.A.K., Choklate, Jeanne Jolly, Anthony David, and Carmen Rogers, took part. The deeply personal SkyBreak, issued in May 2016, was released following the death of Ferguson's father. Some expected collaborators, along with Dornik and Joi Gilliam, were involved in its making. ~ Andy Kellman
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