R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Jazz, Pop and R&B Vocal Master Al Jarreau

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

According to the New York TimesAl Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who sold millions of records and won numerous Grammys for his work in jazz, pop and R&B, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 76.  Jarreau is perhaps best known for his 1981 album Breakin’ Away, which contained his highest-charting hit “We’re In This Love Forever,”  He also sang the theme song of the late-1980s television series Moonlighting, and was a performer in the 1985 charity song “We Are the World“.

His death was announced by his manager, Joe Gordon, who said Mr. Jarreau had been hospitalized for exhaustion two weeks ago.

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Al Jarreau (photo via amazon.com)

A preacher’s son, Jarreau started singing in public as a boy but did not begin a full-time musical career until the late 1960s, when he was nearly 30. Before that, he had worked as a psychologist and rehabilitation counselor.

By the 1970s he had become a popular jazz singer, touring extensively and appearing on television.  Critics praised his voice, his improvisational skill and, in particular, his virtuosic ability to produce an array of vocalizations, ranging from delicious nonsense to clicks and growls to quasi-instrumental sounds – a more extended form of the jazz style “scatting.”

To learn more about this masterful singer’s life and career, click here.

Hip-Hop Legend Snoop Dogg to Headline Working Californians’ 5th Annual Labor Day Music Festival

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Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle

Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle

This Labor Day (September 5, 2016) Working Californians will hold Los Angeles’ fifth annual Labor Day Music Festival featuring hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg, GRAMMY award-winning American Chicano Rock Band Los Lonely Boys; Latin- Jazz musician Poncho Sanchez; The New Orleans All-Star Band featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. John, James Andrews, Herlin Riley and Detroit Brooks; The Dennis Jones Band; The Victor Orlando Orchestra and Fun-Ja-La, and Cuban Funk.

More than 50 Southern California labor organizations will gather on Mondayto celebrate and commemorate both the history and future of Labor Day at Working Californians’ Labor Day Music Festival. This annual event not only benefits working men, women and their families, but also recognizes labor victories made this past year throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.

Concert performances will benefit Working Californians’ non-profit, which fosters social innovation and invests in improving low-income communities in Southern California.

2016 Labor Day Music Festival Featuring: Snoop Dogg

LA Memorial Coliseum’s Exposition Park
3911 S Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA

Monday Sep 5, 2016
Doors: 11:00 AM (ends at 8:30 PM)
$20 & $299

For tickets and more information: http://www.workingcalifornians.org/splash/

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Business Titan Robert F. Smith Named Carnegie Hall’s 1st African-American Chairman

Robert F. Smith, 53, elected chairman of the Carnegie Hall Board of Directors on Thursday. (Credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times)

article by Michael Cooper and David Gelles via nytimes.com

Robert F. Smith, the private equity titan who was named the richest African-American man by Forbes last year after making a fortune in software, also has a quirky musical side.

He owns one of Elton John’s old pianos. He hired John Legend and Seal — and a youth orchestra — to perform at his wedding last summer on the Amalfi Coast. His youngest sons, Hendrix and Legend, are named after Jimi Hendrix and Mr. Legend. And he bought and refurbished a retreat in the Rocky Mountains that was beloved by jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington.

On Thursday, Mr. Smith’s intersecting worlds of money, philanthropy and music came together when he was named the chairman of Carnegie Hall, the nation’s most prestigious concert stage. He became the first African-American to hold the post at a time when diversity at leading cultural organizations lags — a recent survey of New York’s cultural institutions found that nearly 78 percent of their board members were white.

“Carnegie Hall is perfectly placed to champion not only artistic excellence, but also access and exposure to the best music in the world,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.

The election of Mr. Smith, 53, who played an old upright piano while growing up in Denver and was told that with enough practice he might make it to Carnegie one day, brings to an end a low moment at the hall. The billionaire Ronald O. Perelman served as its chairman for less than a year before stepping down last fall after he alienated the board by clashing with the hall’s executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson.

After shunning the spotlight for years, Mr. Smith, who is based in Austin, Tex., where the private equity firm he founded, Vista Equity Partners, has its headquarters, has recently taken a more public role — starting a foundation, the Fund II Foundation; giving commencement addresses; and donating money. His alma mater, Cornell University, renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for him earlier this year after he announced a $50 million gift.

Unlike Carnegie’s most recent chairmen, Mr. Perelman and Sanford I. Weill, the former Citigroup chairman, Mr. Smith does not come from the world of New York finance, and he has not been a major fixture on the city’s social scene — he is more known for flying in to attend events in the city and then flying out. But his work outside the city with investors and tech firms could provide entree to new potential donors in the coming years.

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Stevie Wonder’s Poignant Reflections on Legend and Friend Prince (VIDEO)

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem Finds a Permanent Home

The musicians Terri Davis, left, and Bill Saxton at the opening of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. (YANA PASKOVA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

article by Nate Chinen via nytimes.com

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem has always been, like the music it honors, a study in adaptability. For the last 15 years, it has operated out of a modest fourth-floor space in East Harlem, while developing big plans for a permanent home. Now, after weathering a few disappointments, the museum has relocated to a new storefront on West 129th Street, in a move that signals not only an improvement to its public facilities but also a renewal of its mission.

“Being in a new space has shifted our approach to what is possible,” Ryan Maloney, the museum’s director of education and programming, said during an opening reception on Tuesday night, as a quartet led by the pianist Marc Cary played a hard-swinging Hank Mobley tune.

The museum now sits off Malcolm X Boulevard, a couple of blocks north of Sylvia’s and Red Rooster, the emblematic culinary institutions of old and new Harlem. It occupies the ground floor of a new condominium building, and while it’s not a large footprint — just under 2,400 square feet, of which 1,900 is devoted to public space — the design and layout were carefully considered.

In some ways, the embrace of that small scale reflects well on the institution. Founded in 1997 by Leonard Garment, former counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem began with noble intentions but limited resources. “We flailed around for several years, and while we did, the money ran out,” Mr. Garment wrote in a 2002 article for The New York Times. (He died in 2013.)

The museum found its footing, in incremental steps, under the executive leadership of Loren Schoenberg. A veteran saxophonist, pianist, educator and historian, Mr. Schoenberg brought an air of authority to the museum, while strengthening its bonds with the jazz public and institutions like the Smithsonian. He enlisted two artistic directors, both still actively involved: the bassist Christian McBride and the pianist Jon Batiste. (Mr. McBride is the recently announced new artistic director for the Newport Jazz Festival; Mr. Batiste, the bandleader on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” was one of Mr. Schoenberg’s students at Juilliard.)

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John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ and The Supremes’ ‘Where Did Our Love Go?’ Join National Recording Registry

The Supremes (l) and John Coltrane (r)

The Supremes (l) and John Coltrane (r)

article by Andrew R. Chow via nytimes.com

John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go,” are part of the incoming class added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress this year. The diverse crop of new inductees also includes the Vienna Philharmonic’s 1938 recording of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and live coverage from Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.

The registry adds 25 recordings — deemed significant to American history and culture — each year. The field this year includes pop, (Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”), classic R&B (“Where Did Our Love Go,” The Impressions’ “People Get Ready”), field recordings (W.H. Stepp’s “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” captured by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in 1937) and comedy (George Carlin’s “Class Clown”). Joining these performers is Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposing what became known as the Marshall Plan to aid Europe after World War II.

The National Recording Registry now totals 450 recordings, the library said. A full list can be found at www.loc.gov.

To read original article, go to: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/john-coltranes-a-love-supreme-and-billy-joels-piano-man-join-national-recording-registry/?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Legendary Jazz Singer Sarah Vaughan To Be Honored With U.S. Postage Stamp on March 29

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Sarah Vaughan Forever stamp (UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE)

article by Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele via theroot.com

Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Sarah Vaughan is being honored with a Forever stamp by the U.S. Postal Servicethe Amsterdam News reports.

The unveiling will take place March 29 in Newark, New Jersey—where Vaughan was born.  The image on the stamp is an oil painting of Vaughan’s face during a performance. It’s based on a photograph taken by Hugh Bell in 1955, according to the Amsterdam News.

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