Category: Entertainment - Original Written by steve Holsey
When the city is Detroit and the subject is music, the first thing that comes to mind is Motown. That is not surprising considering the fact that Motown is almost as synonymous with Detroit as cars, and its impact is never-ending.
However, what the city has produced in the past and has to offer in the present goes far beyond the awesome sounds that emanated from Hitsville U.S.A. on West Grand Blvd.
The genres include everything from R&B, jazz, gospel and techno to rock, blues, rap and pop…and more.
This is not a revelation, but the subject is not explored as often as it should be. And in this story we are going to do a lot of back-and-forth-and-back-again “genre jumping.”
DETROIT HAS produced a type of royalty in the form of Aretha Franklin who became the undisputed Queen of Soul in 1967, a title that will be hers forever. And the classic hits, including “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Think” speak for themselves.
Although she returned to her gospel roots in later years, Della Reese emerged in the 1950s as a favorite on the nightclub circuit and on the top television variety programs of the time. Many people still remember her biggest hits, “And That Reminds Me” and “Don’t You Know.”
Speaking of clubs, Freda Payne continues to work some of the finest ones regularly. Actually, she started out in jazz, but began taking a second look at R&B after hearing records by artists like Martha & the Vandellas. Payne had numerous hits in the ’70s, but her signature song is the classic “Band of Gold.”
Freda’s younger sister, Scherrie Payne, sang with the Glass House, then was recommended for the Supremes by Lamont Dozier of the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team. She replaced Jean Terrell in 1973.
IN RAP MUSIC, no one could have predicted that a White man from Detroit’s east side would go on to become one of the magastars of rap/hip-hop. But Eminem did just that and his albums, with much of the content being in a humorous, sometimes “adults only” vein, have had a huge impact.
Kid Rock, another White superstar rapper, was born in Romeo, Michigan, but the Detroit association is strong.
Other rap acts from Detroit: D12, Obie Trice, Slum Village, Insane Clown Posse and J Dilla.
Detroit has given the country (and the world) some of the finest jazz ever played or recorded. The flamboyant rock band KISS famously described Detroit as “rock city.” Well, it is also “jazz city.”
The list of jazz artists from “the D” is, to say the least, impressive, and includes, among many others, Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Marcus Belgrave, Earl Klugh, Yusef Lateef, Donald Byrd, Sonny Stitt, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Alice Coltrane, Geri Allen, Sir Roland Hanna, Dorothy Ashby, James Carter, Tommy Flanagan, Harold McKinney, Elvin Jones and Roy Brooks.
KEM RECORDS on the Motown label but does not seem like a “Motown artist,” but, then again, “Motown” is just a label now anyway. What was really “Motown” ended when the company was sold. KEM’s smooth, jazzy vocals have created a large and loyal following. His albums have been certified Platinum and Gold.
The Spinners were with Motown but didn’t hit their stride until they moved on — to Atlantic at the recommendation of Aretha Franklin. They knew they would never be any more than a secondary act at Motown. At Atlantic it was one national smash after another.
The 1950s and early 1960s were a fertile period for Detroit R&B, producing the great Little Willie John (“Fever,” “Talk to Me, Talk to Me”) and Hank Ballard (“Work With Me Annie,” the original version of “The Twist”) and the Falcons (“You’re So Fine,” “I Found a Love”) as well as such (usually not recognized) notables as Nolan Strong, Andre Williams, the Royal Jokers, the Five Dollars and Nathaniel Mayer.
A BIT LATER in the ’60s, Little Carl Carlton, just starting high school, scored with “Competition Ain’t Nothin.’” That record and others made the national charts, but much bigger later on were “Everlasting Love” and “She’s a Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked).” By then he was “Carl Carlton.”
In rock, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Ryder found national success with some of the highest energy, soul-fused rock ever made.
And Bob Seger (born in Dearborn, but that’s close enough!) became a legend with a long string of classic hits, including “Night Moves,” “Old Time Rock & Roll” and “Hollywood Nights.”
Other Detroit or Metro Detroit rock stars include the Stooges (featuring Iggy Pop), the MC5, the Amboy Dukes (featuring Ted Nugent) and Alice Cooper.
SILKY SOUL is the specialty of Anita Baker, and the influence of Sarah Vaughan, her favorite singer, is obvious. We were and continue to be “caught up in the rapture” whenever we hear Anita Baker gems like “Sweet Love,” “Just Because” and “Giving You the Best That I Got.”
George Clinton’s wildly imaginative “P-Funk” music was something altogether different. Onstage, Clinton, Parliament and Funkadelic were a torrent of funky grooves, spaced out lyrics and dazzling attire. Perfect examples of P-Funk: “Atomic Dog,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Flashlight.”
DETROIT IS also known non-officially as the Gospel Music Capital of the World and with good reason. In addition to being the home of the first family of gospel, the Winans, the Motor City gave the industry the Clark Sisters, J Moss, Vickie Winans, Thomas Whitfield, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Byron Cage, Fred Hammond, Mattie Moss Clark and many more.
Michael Henderson was playing bass professionally while still in his teens. Later he was asked to join the Miles Davis band by the iconic Mr. Davis himself. That was great, but later on Henderson wanted more. No one knew that he could sing and he was excellent on his hits, including “In the Night-Time,” “Be My Girl” and the duets with Phyllis Hyman and Jean Carne.
A lot of great blues artists are from Detroit as well. One of the giants is the great singer/guitarist John Lee Hooker who had a major influence on many others in that field. Alberta Adams, Bobo Jenkins, Thornetta Davis and Eddie “Guitar” Burns are also part of the history of Detroit blues.
THE DRAMATICS were as “bad” as the Temptations. Incredible vocals, slick moves and some of the best R&B songs ever recorded, among them “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” “In the Rain,” “Stop Your Weeping,” “Door to Your Heart” and “Hey You! Get Off My Mountain.”
Jackie Wilson, known as “Mr. Excitement,” was one of the monumental talents in the history of R&B and rock and roll. He was a dynamic performer gifted with an extraordinary voice. His song catalogue, including “Lonely Teardrops,” “To Be Loved,” “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” “Baby Workout,” “Danny Boy” and “Whispers (Gettin’ Louder),” is amazing.
ANOTHER GREAT soul man from Detroit, but with a different groove, was Wilson Pickett. No one other than James Brown could match Pickett’s “soul scream,” heard so prominently on his blockbuster hits such as “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Funky Broadway” and “Mustang Sally.”
Detroit is also where techno started. This form of dance music, which is heavy on electronics, became so popular that a Techno Festival could take over the riverfront and be attended by thousands from near and far. Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins are the key techno figures.
The late ’70s to the mid ’80s was a fruitful period for Detroit bands. So many of the them had national hits, including Brainstorm (“Lovin’ Is Really My Game”), Chapter 8 (“Ready For Your Love”), Nature’s Divine (“I Just Can’t Control Myself”), Five Special (“Why Leave Us Alone”) and One Way (“Cutie Pie,” “Lady You Are”).
THIS IS just part of the story of Detroit music. Telling it is its entirety would require the writing of a book, one with many chapters.
Some of the other artists who must at least be mentioned: the Detroit Emeralds (“Do Me Right,” “Feel the Need in Me”), Keith Washington (“Kissing You”), Laura Lee (“Dirty Man,” “Women’s Love Rights”), Marv Johnson (“You Got What It Takes”), Millie Scott (“Every Little Bit”), Aaliyah (“Are You That Somebody?”), Dwele (“Find a Way”), (“Alicia Myers (“I Want to Thank You”), Erma Franklin (“Piece of My Heart”) and Cherrelle (“Everything I Miss at Home,” “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On”).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 14:09
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
When two artists who are not known for having class get together for a performance, you can expect them to excite most of their staunch fans and simultaneously turn off — and embarrass — a lot of other people.
Such was the case when hard-core rapper/singer Nicki Minaj and gangsta rapper Lil Wayne performed at the televised Billboard Music Awards.
At one point Minaj (who gives added meaning to the phrase “baby got back”) actually gave Wayne a lap dance, and slapped her crotch for added impact!
That sort of thing is for adult clubs or private homes, not on a highly respected awards show presented by the music industry’s premier publication.
The segment concluded with Lil Wayne pointing and saying, “All that ass!”
Yes, and all that poor taste. But as the saying goes, “Consider the source.”
THERE ARE times, for some people are least, when the opportunity to be seen weekly on a popular national TV show trumps a concert tour. Kelly Rowland had been ironing out the details of a tour in support of her new album, “Talk a Good Game,” slated for June 18 release.
But then the producers of “X-Factor” (featuring Simon Cowell) contacted Rowland about being a judge on the talent competition show, and she quickly altered tour plans.
Janet Jackson says she can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the release of one of her most successful albums, “janet.” Around this time Jackson was going the sensual route more often, and here is how she explains it:
“I write about experiences and things that touch me deeply, I was really beginning to get in tune with my sexual self. That is what I wanted to express and I did.”
Janet Jackson: sensual. Nicki Minaj: trashy.
“MUSIC SPEAKS,” the debut album of Candice Glover, the fully deserving 12th season winner on “American Idol,” will be released on July 18. The songstress from Beaufort, South Carolina, will be making a lot of television appearances.
Meanwhile, the iconic Mavis Staples has a new album set for June 25 release titled “One True Vine.”
Speaking of veteran singers, the Sweet Inspirations will go down in history as being among the best background singers in the history of recorded and performed music. But the group never got the full promotion they deserved when they made their own records, and founding member Cissy Houston believes she knows why.
“They wanted to keep Black artists in a tidy little box,” said Houston. “Those ‘Black Music’ divisions are the clearest example that racism is alive and well in the music business.”
Well, that’s one person’s viewpoint.
The right couple sure won on “Dancing With The Stars.” Derek Hough and Kelly Pickler were consistently excellent, never once wavering. I voted for them every week.
Black Radio Exclusive magazine named Alicia Keys the Michael Jackson Entertainer of the Decade.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that the great singer Cheryl Lynn (real name Lynda Cheryl Smith) got her big break after receiving a perfect score on “The Gong Show.” Almost immediately record companies started calling.
MEMORIES: “Vision of Love” (Mariah Carey), “Rip Off” (Laura Lee), “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers), “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” (Billy Ocean), “Outstanding” (the Gap Band), “Native New Yorker” (Odyssey), “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” (Jerry Butler and Brenda Lee Eager), “Sara Smile” (Daryl Hall & John Oates), “Ring My Bell” (Anita Ward).
BLESSINGS to Jim Campbell, McArthur Mickens, Fay Mickens, Fred Williams, Gary Brown, Montez Miller, Patricia Holsey, Tony Stevenson, Kevin Keegan, Nicholas Hood III and Ken Donaldson.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Rosa Parks: “You can’t expect children to know what they haven’t been taught.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 13:57
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Hosley
“Where Did Our Love Go?” is the classic song that ignited the Supremes’ career and at the same time sparked the Motown explosion of the 1960s.
Well, in reference to the weight loss of Mo’Nique, that song title could be altered to “Where Did Her Weight Go?” The comedienne/actress has lost 80 pounds (so far).
Good for her, but she had always given the impression that she was content with her size, even writing a tongue-in-cheek book titled “Skinny Women Are Evil.”
Then there is Star Jones who used to get angry when concerned viewers would send her diets when she was one of the ladies on “The View.” Her attitude was, “What makes you think I’m not happy now?” But next thing we knew, she was slender, with medical assistance.
And then there was the late and very talented Vesta (Williams) who indicated she was satisfied being plus-sized — then she started exercising, changed her diet and became “Slinderella.”
The bottom line is that people do not always mean what they say, no matter how vociferously they proclaim it.
LET’S HOPE it was just his youth speaking. Actor Jaden Smith, son of megastars Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, as you have probably heard, asked his parents for a bizarre birthday present on July 8 when he turns 15. (Fifteen!) According to his father, he “wants his own place.”
Dad said he appreciates Jaden’s “need for independence,” but surely the answer is going to be no. Even if it was yes, that might be illegal, not to mention incredibly shortsighted and dangerous.
John Legend’s fans are anticipating June 25 because that is when his new album, “Love in the Future,” is scheduled to be released, his first new album in five years. In the fall he will launch a major U.S. tour.
By the way, Legend’s real name is John Stephens. Not many people would have the guts (or the ego?) to make “Legend” their last name for the stage. He seems like a real nice person, though.
AND SPEAKING of John Legend, he is one of an ever-growing number of stars in the recording industry and Hollywood who are biracial. Among the others are Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Halle Berry, Nicki Minaj, rock guitarist Slash (from the band Guns N’ Roses), Tracee Ellis Ross, Vin Diesel, Maya Rudolph and Detroit’s own Lonette McKee.
Solange Knowles is starting her own record label, called Saint Records.
When “American Idol” returns for its 13th season, the absence of Randy Jackson, who has been there from the beginning, is not the only change. In all probably the show will return to having three judges rather than four, which makes sense, especially when there is a need for a “save” vote which decides whether a voted off contestant should be given another chance.
Tyler Perry’s mind is always working at full capacity. Now he is even thinking of making his popular “Madea” character into a cartoon series!
We all know that Lamont Dozier is an outstanding songwriter and producer. With partners Brian and Eddie Holland he wrote all of those classic hits for the Four Tops, the Supremes and numerous others. But he also had several great (and successful) recordings as an artist.
A number of years ago, a collection titled “Lamont Dozier: The Legendary Soul Master” was released in overseas markets, but is now available here as an import. Among the selections are “Fish Ain’t Bitin’,” “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and my favorite, “Let Me Start Tonite.” All three made the national R&B Top 10.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that rap star and actor Mos Def (Dante Smith) got that name because he was in the habit of saying “most definitely.”
MEMORIES: “I Feel Good All Over” (Stephanie Mills), “Bring It on Home to Me” (Sam Cooke), “Easy” (the Commodores), “I Feel Love” (Donna Summer), “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (Culture Club), “Part-Time Lover” (Stevie Wonder), “Shake Your Groove Thing” (Peaches & Herb), “Knock on Wood” (Eddie Floyd), “Turn Your Love Around” (George Benson), “Call Me” (Al Green).
BLESSINGS to Cheryl Myhand, Harrison Bynum Jr., Aretha Watkins, Al Allen, Donald James, Ericka Alexander, André Spivey, Duana Watkins, Shirley Jones and Mark McMorris.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Jimmy Carter: “We must adjust to changing times and still hold on to unchanging principles.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 15:10
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Sharon Banks
Jazz can never be put in a box. It cannot be classified as one musical genre, style or artist. It takes its rightful place in modern music traditions and legacies. As eclectic as it is electric, jazz is resilient and proudly confident wherever it is played. The Detroit Jazz Festival is Detroit and has been for 34 years, never missing a beat.
When the Detroit Jazz Festival descends on Detroit, it does not come quietly.
With more than 250,000 enthusiastic fans, the free outdoor music festival attracts some the top names in jazz from around the world and the city. Detroit’s music legacy and traditions have earned it bragging rights as an uncompromised jazz hub.
A pivotal agent in the molding of America’s jazz sounds, the city has long been an urban incubator for all genres of jazz. Its native sons and daughters stand tall among jazz greats. Detroit and jazz are connected.
As the only free festival of its kind in the country and recognized as one of the top three festivals in the world, the Detroit Jazz Festival is the place to be for jazz fans.
The widely praised Pure Michigan advertising campaign, credited with resurrecting the state’s tourism industry and putting Michigan on the national travel map, recently announced that it will aggressively promote the Detroit Jazz Festival and other signature events as part of a $50 million campaign to attract visitors from other states and countries.
While the place to be for thousands of local residents, 17 percent of those attending the Detroit Jazz Festival travel hundreds and thousands of miles to stay at our hotels, dine in our restaurants, shop and purchase from our vendors during the music filled Labor Day weekend.
Jazz brings together an audience that is every bit as diverse and inclusive as the artists they come to see.
The estimated annual economic impact of the Detroit Jazz Festival is in the tens of millions. A more definitive economic impact study will be released following this year’s event.
Just as the music is diverse, the jazz festival attracts and embraces audiences from different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, ages, education and incomes. Blue color, white collar and no collar, suburban and urban, people attending the festival come together to enjoy something they all have in common — a love of jazz.
A Personal Invitation
There may be no better opportunity than the Detroit Jazz Festival to showcase the best of Detroit. What a great way to entertain clients and cultivate new business prospects.
From Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, jazz artists will showcase the best of jazz, leaving an indelible impression among musicians and fans alike.
Nothing will ever beat the sound of the Detroit Jazz Festival and the people it brings together. For more information on the 2013 jazz artist line-up, sponsors, VIP passes and membership opportunities, community events and updates, visit detroitjazzfest.com. Join us Labor Day weekend to experience and celebrate one of the city’s treasured gems that shines bright each year — the 34th annual Detroit Jazz Festival.
Editor’s Note: Sharon Banks is the chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Board of Trustees and a member of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Board of Directors
A Look Back at
Detroit’s Jazz Scene
The Detroit International Jazz Festival was founded in 1980 by Robert McCabe and the Detroit Renaissance, an organization with a roster of corporate and business leaders. The festival was developed to provide an opportunity for people to come together to enjoy world-class jazz and showcase pride in Detroit.
In 1991, the festival merged with Detroit’s Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts where it resided until September 2005.
In January 2006, jazz enthusiast and philanthropist Gretchen Valade founded the Detroit International Jazz Festival Foundation with its goal to produce and manage the popular festival. Proprietor of the popular Dirty Dog Jazz Café and the Mack Avenue Records jazz label, Valade was committed to saving the festival from extinction when funding dwindled. Her commitment to Detroit and the jazz festival resulted in establishing a $10 million endowment that provided much needed seed funding for festival operations.
Renamed the Detroit Jazz Festival, it now spans three blocks along Woodward Avenue from Campus Martius to Hart Plaza on Jefferson Avenue on the banks of the Detroit River.
Attracting noted jazz headliners, the festival is also home to many of Detroit’s finest musicians and students who participate in year-round education and community outreach programs with coveted opportunities to perform at the festival.
The Detroit Jazz Festival provides opportunities for local artists to participate in events leading up to Labor Day weekend beginning as early as February and continuing well past Labor Day weekend.
Now in its fourth year, the Jazz Infusion Program supports Detroit Public Schools to help foster the growth of young musicians to compete for college scholarships, pursue careers in music, and continue Detroit’s rich and deep jazz tradition.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 15:23
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
Jennifer Hudson will be the next celebrity judge to decide the fate of contestants on Season 13 of "American Idol." Age 31, Hudson was a finalist on American Idol 10 seasons ago. That year, she took seventh place in the singing competitoin. Despite her ranking, Hudson has become one of the more famous American Idol contestants along with Kelly Clarkston, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert. It is expected that Clarkston, Aiken and Lambert will join Hudson on the show to round out a panel of "superstar alums" which is targeted for next year's theme. The concept for the new theme is designed to regain viewership, which was down by 7 million viewers for this year's season finale. Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, Nicki Manaj and Keith Urban will not be returning ot the show next year.
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 May 2013 12:07
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