Sunday April 4th, 2004


New CD's this past week:

- Janet Jackson - Damita Jo
- Carmen – Free
- Geno Young – Ghetto symphony


Music news stories this week:

Janet Jackson And Jermaine Dupri Getting Married?

Singer Janet Jackson has been making the rounds this week promoting her
new album, Damita Jo, which was released on Tuesday, March 30th, and the
star has been sporting a diamond ring on her ring finger. Last week her
boyfriend Jermaine Dupri caused quite a stir when he announced that he
would like to marry Jackson and spend the rest of his life with her on
Ryan Seacrest's radio show.
When questioned by Entertainment Tonight during an interview this week,
Jackson said, "I've truly found it. Jermaine is the guy, but I don't want
to comment on it further. I'd like to keep some of it close to me. But the
most important thing is the happiness."
If Jackson and Dupri do decide to tie the knot secretly it will not be the
first time that Jackson has kept her nuptials a secret. She secretly
married Rene Elizondo in 1991 and it wasn't until the pair filed for
divorce in 2000 that it became public that they had been married. Jackson
was also previously married to singer James DeBarge.


Diana Ross’ Lawyer Says Singer Shouldn’t Have To Go Back To Jail

Diana Ross's attorney has asked an Arizona judge to rescind a court order
requiring the Motown star to serve additional time in a Tucson jail, even
though she did not serve her entire sentence in Connecticut. According to
AP, lawyer James Nesci says that unforeseen circumstances prevented the
60-year-old singer from serving her full 48-hour term, which was supposed
to include 24-consecutive hours in jail. When Tucson City Court Magistrate
T. Jay Cranshaw found out that Ross served only 47 hours over a three-day
span, he ordered her to serve additional time in Arizona . A hearing on
the matter is scheduled at Tucson City Court for Thursday (April 1st).
Ross' sentence stems from a February "no contest" plea to a December 2002
drunken driving charge in Tucson . She arranged to serve her jail-time in
Greenwich , Connecticut where she resides.
In a court document filed last week, Ross' lawyer said the singer was
unable to serve her 48-hours consecutively because of staffing problems at
the jail.

Luther To Get Tribute From Jazz Artists

Luther Vandross may be recovering from the stroke he suffered almost a
full year ago, but his career seems to have reached yet another zenith.
The velvety vocalist, who has thrilled audiences for years with his
classic tunes and stellar stage performances, is finally getting his just
desserts this year with numerous accolades for his "Dance With My Father"
CD and heart-tugging title tune (which was co-written by '80s pop idol
Richard Marx!). Besides a platinum plaque for the best-selling album,
Vandross' most recent honors include four Grammys, a Soul Train Award, and
four NAACP Image Awards, just in the last two months.
Now Vandross will get a musical tribute from several jazz and R&B artists,
who are currently putting the finishing touches on a CD project titled
"Forever, For Always, For Luther." The GRP set will reportedly feature
performances of Luther hits by Lalah Hathaway, George Benson, saxophonist
Boney James, singer Ledisi, saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarist Paul
Jackson, Jr., keyboardist Brian Culbertson, sax man Dave Koz, and
producer/keyboardist Rex Rideout. The album is expected some time in July.
Let's all keep the prayer circle going so that Luther continues to gain
strength and health through our focused "love power/the power of love."


George Benson Reworking New album

The latest George Benson album "Irreplaceable" has had a lot of false
starts and stops. The album originally set for October, 2003 release was
pushed to February, 2004 and now the long overdue album will be in stores
May 25th. What's going on? It turns out Benson has had a change of heart
concerning the album's new R&B direction. Here's what his label GRP said
in February. "After a lot of soul-searching, George Benson came to the
conclusion that he wanted to re-work his album and add more of the
instrumental jazz that has been the hallmark of his career for so many
years. While Benson embraces the new direction in which his music has been
taking him, he decided that he wanted to create a record that would appeal
to ALL of his fans: traditional jazz, contemporary jazz and R&B."
The album was originally a smorgasbord of Joshua P. Thompson songs. He's
the chap that wrote hits for Alicia Keys, Joe, Babyface and Luther
Vandross. So the end result has the album sounding more Contemporary Jazz.


Patti LaBelle Readies New 'Journey'

R&B legend Patti LaBelle will crown her new Def Soul Classics deal with the
May 4 release of "Timeless Journey." First single "New Day" hit No. 1 last week
on Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Other
tracks include the Babyface-produced "Sometimes Love" and "Hear My Cry"
featuring Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius.
Carlos Santana also appears on an as-yet-unnamed song on the 13-track set, which
is LaBelle's first album since 2000's "When a Woman Loves." That set was her
final release for longtime label MCA, which was folded last year. The artist was
on the charts as recently as December, thanks to a guest appearance on Wyclef
Jean's "Celebrate." The track reached No. 5 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop
Singles tally.
LaBelle has a handful of appearances on tap in the coming weeks, including a
previously announced April 18 performance at the VH1 Divas concert in Las Vegas.
She is also scheduled to appear on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman,"
NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and the syndicated "Ellen DeGeneres
Ms. LaBelle considers “Timeless Journey” one of the best albums of her career,
says her publicist Patti Webster. While performing in Phoenix a few weeks ago,
her glam squad assembled for an extended stay so they can conduct the photo
shoot for her album’s art-work, in between her consistent touring regimen.
Everyone who truly knows this exceptional talent knows that Ms. LaBelle makes
her bread and butter on the road, by performing non-stop to sell out crowds across
the country. This weekend, planning her next big touring jaunt –kicking off in
the coming weeks, Ms. LaBelle is holding auditions
Still no word on the recently rumored and long overdue reunion with former
LaBelle members Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, but it’s not to be taken


Gamble & Huff Open Vaults To Philly Producers Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias

Producers/songwriters Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barias have formed a musical
alliance with legendary Philadelphia soul producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble
and Leon Huff. "Gamble and Huff have a vault of records that no one has heard
before," Haggins tells Billboard, recalling his visit to the pair's Philadelphia studio.
"They gave us a list and let us choose 10 songs."
The younger twosome is already working on one of those songs, "Friend," with
RCA artist Heather Headley. "The same carpet from 1972 is on the studio walls,
and the same equipment is there," Barias says. "That's when it hits you. Their studio
is a summary of a career that spans three decades. That's a humbling experience,
because I know how far we have to go."
Partners for eight years, Barias and Haggins created CarMul Productions in 2001.
Best-known for their work on albums by Philly colleagues Musiq and Jill Scott,
the duo is splitting time between Los Angeles and its Home Cookin' studios in
Having wrapped several songs on Joe's latest Jive album, "And Then ...," Barias
and Haggins spent most of March in L.A. collaborating on Brian McKnight's
new Motown project. In between, the duo laid down tracks with Patti LaBelle
("Black Butterfly," on Def Soul's "Johnson Family Vacation" soundtrack) and
Earth, Wind & Fire. On the latter album, Musiq teams with Maurice White and
Philip Bailey on "Happiness Is."
After Easter, it's back to L.A. to record songs for Faith Evans' Capitol debut.
Also on CarMul's recording docket: Atlantic newcomer Algebra and a fourth
Musiq album.


News 2004

News 2003

News 2002

News 2001