Jesse “Cheese” Hameen II was born in New Haven, CT, and had an early background in gospel, afro-cuban, R&B, and jazz. He has traveled and performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada and Mexico. He has led his own group, Elevation since 1976.


Throughout his 30 year professional career, “Cheese” has performed with countless musicians too numerous to name here, but a short list includes: Ruth Brown, Charles Brown, Grover Washington Jr., George Benson, Lena Horne, Ms. Irene Reid, Gloria Lynne, Freddie Cole, Stanley Turrentine, Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions, Ruby & the Romantics, Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Crawford, Lou Donaldson, Etta Jones, Tommy Flannagan, Rodney Jones, Leon Thomas, Pharaoh Sanders, Little Jimmy Scott, Blue Mitchell, Kenny Burrell, Brook Benton, Arthur Prysock, Jimmy Ponder, Melvin “Sparks” Hasan, Major Holly, Doug & Jean Carn, Bobby Watson, Harold Vick, Freddie Hubbard, Jamil Nasser, Lonnie Smith, David “Fathead” Newman, Kenny Baron, George Adams and Benny Powell.


Jesse is President and Founder of Inspire Productions Recording company. He is an adjunct professor at The Hartford Conservatory of Music, and a member of the faculty at the Neighborhood Music School, as well as teaching privately at his studio.