Ernest Quarles was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was an audiophile with a state of the art sound system, and an enormous jazz collection. His mother loved listening to the popular music of the day including artists like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and many others.
Being in the heart of Motown, he was fortunate enough to have grown up in the same neighborhood as many of Motown’s musical icons, including Gladys Knight & Pips, The Four Tops, and Stevie Wonder. In fact, Ernest said that when he was 13 years old, all four of the Four Tops were on his paper route!
At a young age, Ernest showed an affinity to music. His mother would make him sing Jackson Five songs for her friends when they came over for Bridge club, and he was always happy to do it.
Throughout elementary and high school, he collected albums and developed an eclectic taste in music which included artists from a wide variety of genres like George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., Wes Montgomery, Earth Wind and Fire, The Ohio Players, Pat Metheny, Al Jarreau, Gino Vanelli, Parliament Funkadelic, Yes, and Led Zepplin.
It wasn’t until he went off to college to Morehouse in Atlanta, Georgia that he started learning to play the guitar. He taught himself the basics by buying a Beatle’s songbook, and learning to play their repertoire on the acoustic guitar. From there he was fortunate enough to be able to study jazz theory under one of Morehouse’s greatest marching and jazz band leaders Roderick Smith. After two summers of intense wood shedding while attending Georgia Tech, he was good enough to begin playing and singing in several college fusion and funk bands around Atlanta, doing frat parties, proms, weddings, and eventually restaurants and bars. One of the bands, Frenzync opened for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to a standing room only crowd in the mid 80’s.
Ernest now resides in Atlanta with his family, where he has weekly gigs at hotels and restaurants around the city, and does session work with other musicians in town. At the beginning of the year, with the encouragement of many of his friends and fans, he began the EQuinox project.
From an astronomical perspective the EQuinox is of course a transitional event, when the sun is at zenith over the Equator occurring twice a year on March 20 and September 22. Since his birthday is September 22, his initials are EQ, and this is indeed a transitional time, the album actually named itself – EQuinox.