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My Favorites


Favorite Movie – A Hard Day's Night – The Beatles
Favorite Pig Out Food – Cheese Popcorn
Favorite Song – I Should Have Known Better – The Beatles
Favorite Season – Fall
Favorite Car – 1970 Chevelle 396 Super Sport
Favorite Bands – The Mahavishnu Orchestra & The Beatles

Currently working as a music specialist, music career development/consultant, music educator, arranger, solo and ensemble guitarist, and media transfer-restoration specialist.

Soli Hughes


Soli is a gifted guitarist whose playing style has often been described as intensely emotional. He has performed at the Umbria & Espoo World Jazz festivals in Perugia, Italy & Espoo, Finland respectively with Moore By Four; and he performed solo concerts throughout Spain including Madrid, El Escorial, & Pamplona. Japan tours have taken him to Osaka, Hamagata, Yamagata, Bei, Tokyo, Kyoto & Nagasaki with the Sounds Blackness. He also performed in national tours throughout the U.S. as the guitarist for HAZE promoting their album release, Haze, featuring the Billboard single "I Do Love My Lady." Locally Soli was the original guitarist for the group Flyte Tyme. Other performances include Shirley King, The Jackson 5, The 5th Dimension, Bobby Lyle & Roy Ayers.

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Although Minnesota is his home, Soli's musical experiences as a concert guitarist and as an ensemble performer have taken him to Spain, Brazil, Germany, England, Italy, Finland, Jamaica, Japan and Canada. Originally from Minneapolis, Soli has been performing professionally since age 12 for more than 40 years in the Twin Cities area and throughout the world. Locally he was the original guitarist and member of Flyte Tyme with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and he directed two major groups called "The Soli Hughes Project," a jazz quartet; and "Soliente," his Brazilian jazz trio.

In 1973, Soli contributed his guitar chops to the number "2" album in the Midwest area self-titled Haze. A few years later the group name changed to "Crystal Haze" and they appeared on the CBS prime time show entitled People Magazine, where Soli and keyboardist Peter Johnson were featured in a martial arts exhibition using the Chinese Shaolin Temple form staffs.

Soli was a featured soloist at The Minnesota Music Teacher's Convention and The Minnesota Composers Forum, performing written works entitled "Incoming" and "18 Bricks Left on April 21st for Two Electric Guitars." The works were written for orchestra and guitar and for two electric guitars, respectively. He has hosted and performed at the Minnesota Rural Arts Conference, an event that promotes the arts and education within rural communities throughout Minnesota. Other performances include Orchestra Hall, the Ordway, and the World Theater (now named The Fitzgerald Theater) as a member of Moore by Four and the Sounds of Blackness.

Soli developed a college level course called "Contemporary Guitar" which was taught as a part of the Norris Mini Course program at Northwestern University. Soli has spent numerous years writing and arranging music for other musicians including producing a CD entitled Global Jazz for vocalist Karen Lyu. Soli served as president of COMPAS, a non–profit artist–in–residence organization, served as vice president and educational chair of the Minnesota Music Academy, and served as a member of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Cultural Advisory Board. A published author, Soli wrote a special insert magazine for the St. Paul Pioneer Press on pop culture entitled "Inside American Pop Music."

Since 1994, Soli has been conducting music education residencies all over the state of Minnesota to students from third grade to high school seniors. One of those residencies, The History of Rock 'n Roll and Pop Culture Media, has been in the Hopkins School District for fifteen years. The History of Rock 'n Roll and Pop Culture Media, plus other residencies such as The Science of Sound and Africa to America, have been in numerous Minnesota schools and districts over the last fifteen years. Additionally, Soli headed a three day artistic seminar called Creativity in the Classroom at the Science Museum of Minnesota which included over 1,000 students from the metro area.

Soli's national and international experiences have included performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Ayers, B.B. King, The Jackson 5, The 5th Dimension, and Shirley King. He played with the Sounds of Blackness as a featured performer at The Royal Albert Hall in London where the Queen of England and British Royalty were in attendance. His featured guitar solo was entitled "We Shall Overcome" from the Sounds of Blackness album Kings and Queens. He was awarded two Gold Records for his musical contributions on albums with the Sounds of Blackness. Walt Disney released an animated version of John Henry for which Soli contributed music to the soundtrack.

For four years, Soli was the musical director of an original music program called The Complete World of Music which taught apprentices all aspects of the music industry culminating in the release of four annual original CD's. This program has advanced to a music mentorship program called Rockapolis. Currently, Soli is developing education curriculum, editing video projects, conducting educational seminars, composing and arranging music, and performing professionally.


Since 1994, Soli has been conducting educational music residencies throughout the state of Minnesota with students from third through twelfth grade. His residencies include The History of Rock and Roll & Pop Culture, The Science of Sound, Africa to America, and Music & Media: Magic or Madness.

Soli also presents educational seminars for various conferences. He has headed or been a clinician at conferences such as Creativity in the Classroom at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the MMEA Music Festival Concert in Worthington, MN, the 4th – Write Conference at the University of Minnesota, and the MMEA In–Service Clinic at Moorhead State University.

Soli is also a published author, writing a special insert magazine for the St. Paul Pioneer Press entitled 50 Years Of American Pop Music: It's Trends and Lifestyles.

For five years, Soli was director of a music program entitled The Complete World of Music. Currently, he is directing a new music mentoring program called Rockapolis.


Formal Education

Howard University: Washington, D.C.
Areas of Study: General Education

Macalester College: St. Paul, MN
Areas of Study: Black Music History, Jazz Harmony, Classical Voice

Moorhead State University: Moorhead, MN
Areas of Study: Composition, Theory, Electronic Music

Conservatory of Madrid: Madrid, Spain
Areas of Study: Spanish Interpretive Guitar, Baroque Ornamentation, Brazilian Guitar
Performance Diploma Awarded

Roosevelt University: Chicago, IL
Areas of Study: Classical Harmony, Classical Guitar, Piano, Choir

Accomplishments & Musical Discographyback to top ↑

Soli Hughes

Awarded two Gold Records for his work on the albums Evolution of Gospel & Africa to America.

Inducted into the Mid–America Music Hall of Fame for dedication and service to the music, recording and entertainment industry as guitarist with the music group HAZE.

Nominated for two NAACP Image Awards with the Sounds of Blackness for Outstanding Gospel Artist and Outstanding Duo or Group for Kings and Queens album.

Master Of Ceremonies for the 8th & 9th Annual Honors Concerts at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN. Featured conductors: Paul Jan Zdunek, Dr. Robert Peterson, Dr. Douglas Nimmo, Dr. Lawrence Burnett, and Dr. Matthew George.

Past vice president, music education chair, and video archivist for the Minnesota Music Academy.

Wrote an accredited college level music course entitled "Contemporary Guitar" for Northwestern University, Chicago, IL.

Leader/Music Director for "The Soli Hughes Project," a smooth jazz quintet; and "Soliente," a Brazilian jazz trio.

Guitarist for the Hey City production The Music and Mystique of Nat King Cole and the 60's rock musical Beehive.

Performances with various orchestras, wind ensembles, and new music pieces including: "Incoming" written for guitar & orchestra by composer Dr. Henry Gwiazda, House Of Cards opera by composer Dr. Henry Gwiazda, and "Eighteen Bricks Left on April 21st for 2 Electric Guitars" by composer David Bedford performed at the Minnesota Composers Forum with Dr. Henry Gwiazda.

Producer and musical contributor for Karen Lyu's Global Jazz Live CD.

Contributed music to various CD projects including: Time for Healing by the Sounds of Blackness, The Temple by Jimmi Langemo, and Anything Can Happen by Dallas Johnson.

Contributed music to the soundtrack of the Walt Disney animated film John Henry.

Featured soloist for "We Shall Overcome" on the Sounds of Blackness album Kings and Queens. Performed this solo at Royal Albert Hall where the Queen of England and other British Royalty were in attendance.

Participated in the Hollywood video production of the "Hold On" music video, the single release from the Sounds of Blackness CD, Time for Healing, shown on BET, VH1 and MTV.

Articles and Newsback to top ↑

A Man and His Music Come to Washington University
Detroit Lakes Tribune – Click to view

Artist Teaches Students Value of 'Music' in Daily Activities
Winona Daily News – Click to view

Soli Hughes to Give Free Concert at NPHS
New Prague Times – Click to view

Metro ECSU Links with Minneapolis Public Schools to Inspire Fourth Graders in the Art of Writing
edNews – Click to view

Prarie Jam
Daily Globe – Click to view

Revealing Retro
Daily Globe – Click to view

Sharing the History of Rock and Roll
Daily Globe – Click to view

Students Get Lesson in Modern Music
Click to view

50 Years of American Pop Music
St. Paul Pioneer Press – Click to view

Bridging the Musical Gap
St. Paul Pioneer Press – Click to view

Local Musician Begins His Residence at Vadnais Heights Elementary
St. Paul Pioneer Press – Click to view

Videoback to top ↑

Rockapolisback to top ↑

Soli Hughes

RockapolisClick here to visit the Rockapolis page.

Rockapolis is a music mentoring program designed to challenge, motivate and teach various skills which are needed to start, sustain and maintain a creative/business career in the music industry.

Rockapolis provides a place where music has no boundaries, where students can develop a wide range of vocal and instrumental compositions and performances that incorporates their own personal tastes and allows them to be creatively versatile and competitive in today's fusion of styles/genres.

Select artists will have a wide forum to learn the historical importance and development of music, increase their technical skills and knowledge of harmony, theory, composition, and performance.

The business/marketing and recording areas of music are constantly changing, so those artists whose emphasis is in that area will be exposed to copyrights, royalties, touring and studio recording preparation.

Music is not only an art form, but a serious business that has crossed over into media, digital technology, fashion and advertising. Rockapolis provides a format from which artists can develop skilled careers and become pioneers and leaders in the future styles of the industry.

For more information on Rockapolis, contact Soli at

Contactback to top ↑

For solo guitar performances, jazz trio performances, corporate or private events, music residencies, seminars, and media transfer services, contact Soli at:

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