Sunday February 29th, 2004


New CD's this past week:

- En Vogue – Soul flower
- Van Hunt – Van Hunt
- Hil St. Soul – Copasetic & cool
- Freddie Jackson – It’s your move


Music news stories this week:

Seven Of R. Kelly's 21 Counts Of Child-Pornography Tossed

R. Kelly scored a minor victory in court Friday (February 27) when seven
of the 21 child-pornography counts against him were dismissed on a
Kelly's lawyers filed a motion in December, asserting that the seven
counts pertaining to soliciting a minor to participate in the sex tape
should be dismissed on the grounds that they were based on laws that
weren't on the books when the alleged conduct took place.
The original charge borrows language — that the singer "solicited, used,
persuaded, induced, enticed or coerced" the alleged victim — from a
provision in the Safe Neighborhoods Act. If the phrase had used only the
word "solicited," prosecutors would have been in the clear. But since they
expanded the scope with the other wording, they opened themselves up to
the controversy over the language in that law, which took effect in 1995
but was then declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court
before being re-enacted with expanded child-pornography provisions in June
Since the prosecution left a wide window for when the tape could have been
made, sometime "between November 1, 1997, and February 1, 2002," it is
difficult, if not impossible, to determine if the law was on the books
when the tape was made.
On Friday, Chicago Judge Vincent Gaughan granted the defense's motion and
dismissed those seven charges, with the prosecution conceding to the
defense's argument. A rep from the state's attorney's office said those
particular charges were going to be dropped before the case went to trial
Kelly's camp released a statement calling the win "the first official
acknowledgement of the weakness of [the prosecution's] case." Ten other
motions from the defense filed in December are still pending.
At Friday's hearing, Gaughan also granted Kelly permission to attend the
March 20 Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. His Chocolate Factory is
up for Best Male R&B/Soul Album and R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year.
Kelly, who still faces 14 counts in Illinois and 12 counts in Florida, is
due back in court April 2.

Bobby Brown Sentenced To 60 Days For Probation Violation

Bobby Brown was sentenced on Friday (February 27) to 60 days in jail for
violating probation.
Brown, 35, spent the past week in Georgia's DeKalb County Jail without
bond and was escorted back to jail following the sentencing hearing to
serve the rest of his time.
Judge Wayne Purdom found the singer to be in violation of several
conditions of his two-year probation — the result of a drunken driving
conviction in January 2003 including refusal to submit to a drug test,
failure to pay his court-supervision fees in a timely manner and failure
to provide proof that he completed his substance-abuse rehabilitation
Because Brown was able to prove that, of those charges, he had paid $105
in fees, attended counseling and completed community service obligations,
Purdom cut his sentence in half, from 120 to 60 days, New York's Newsday
Brown also faces a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly hitting his
wife, Whitney Houston, in December. A preliminary hearing in that case is
scheduled for May 5.

Tyra Banks Hopes To Release Album Early Next Year

Supermodel Tyra Banks, who recently made her solo singing debut on her hit
reality series America's Next Top Model, has a CD in the works. Banks told
Jet magazine "I would love an album in fall or sometime early next year.
It's something I've been working on for a while. I have five songs that I
really love."
According to Rodney Jerkins, who produced "Shake Ya Body," the song Banks
sang on America's Next Top Model, says she has what it takes to make it in
the music business. He told Jet, "She had a hungriness to be in the studio
all the time. Some people want to be divas in the studio and work for
three hours. You had to tell Tyra to stop or she will keep you going."
Banks previously provided vocals for L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant's first foray
into recording. The supermodel guested on the baller's 2000 hip-hop single


Prince Announces Tour, Gets Friendly With Major Labels

Looks like Prince's performance at the Grammys was a sign o' things to come.
The singer announced his first proper nationwide tour in six years on
Tuesday (February 24) at a press conference that featured the singer and
his New Power Generation band offering a sneak peek at what to expect from
the shows, which will supposedly be the last time he performs some of his
greatest hits live.
Prince opened the Grammys with a show-stealing medley featuring Beyoncé
performing "Purple Rain," "Baby I'm a Star" and "Let's Go Crazy."
"Our last tour was based on the music from [2001's] The Rainbow Children,
and this time we got a really tight band, and what I wanted to do was hear
them play some of my early music," Prince told the hundreds of journalists
and fan club members jammed into the El Rey Theatre. "It's older music but
it's going to be played in a newer way.
"I'll bring them back out and show you what I'm talking about," he added,
minutes before the band returned for "Kiss," "Sign 'O' the Times" and
other favorites.
The Musicology Tour, which opens March 29 in Los Angeles, will feature
Prince performing in the round to accommodate more concertgoers. So far
only dates through June 12 in Bossier City, Louisiana, have been
announced, although the tour will also hit Boston, Chicago, Detroit,
Houston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia,
Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and more. "We're going to go around the
world and probably back again," Prince said.
The artist formerly known as the Artist also revealed he has recorded a
new album, titled Musicology, which he hopes to release later in year in a
rather unconventional manner.
"I've been talking to all the major labels to help with promotion and
distribution, the notion being that the pie, the market share, should be
shared by all," Prince said. "So I'm going to ask all of them to release
it at once. That might seem a little bit crazy, but I'm going to ask
Prince, who once famously called himself a slave to Warner Bros., has not
released an album on a major label since the mid-'90s. He's met with
several so far and said he would be open to teaming with one for
Musicology if not all the companies are interested.
"The distribution situation is going to be handled by the group of
individuals that are most hyped about pushing the project," he said. "We
spend a lot of time on the music and we take great care in doing the best
that we can. It gets frustrating sometimes when you take five, six months
out of your life and give it to somebody to mess up in two weeks."
Musicology, which features a single of the same name (Prince performed it
Tuesday), will also be available on a new download system Prince is
developing, with songs for 99 cents, or 77 cents for fan club members.
He's also working on a way to give the album for free to fans who purchase
concert tickets, "the thinking behind that being the people who buy
concert tickets have been with me for over 20 years," he said. "So it's
just my way of saying thanks."
Prince also noted several upcoming performances, including Thursday on
"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," March 3 on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show,"
Memorial Day at the Tiger Jam for the Tiger Woods Foundation and July 2 at
the Essence Festival.


Mary J. Blige Spreading Love, Life On Spring Tour

Mary J. Blige proclaimed her happiness on her latest album, Love & Life.
Now she'll share that emotion with fans around the country.
The singer has announced a national tour beginning April 11 in Miami and
ending May 9 in Universal City, California.
This will be Mary's first U.S. tour since performing early-2002 theater
dates in support of No More Drama. Since then, Blige has done high-profile
spot performances at the Super Bowl and MTV Video Music Awards.
Blige, currently performing a weeklong stint in an off-Broadway play, will
feature special guest Musiq during the monthlong trek. The soul crooner
released his third album, Soulstar, in December.


Ashanti Promises New Sound, New Flavor On Next LP

In between her two new acting projects, Ashanti has been working on her
music and has already recorded three songs for her next album.
Though she won't reveal who's producing, she said there'll be a host of
new talent working on the record, which will be lyrically deeper than her
2002 self-titled debut and last year's follow-up, Chapter II. "It's a new
sound, a new flavor," she said. "I definitely want to touch on more topics
that I didn't touch on with the first and the second record. It's a
wonderful thing to have so many new people come to the label and bring so
much more talent."
Ashanti's also excited about her upcoming remix album, due in April. The
first single will be a remix of "Breakup 2 Makeup," and the disc will
feature three or four previously unheard songs, including one called "Show
You." In addition, Ashanti recently sang on the first single from Lloyd,
the newest addition to the Inc.'s roster.
"I feel like a very blessed person," Ashanti explained. "I have a lot of
people that love me and I'm surrounded by great, genuine people that help
me, and we all work hard. It's taken such a long time to get here, so
we're just very happy that it's working out the way it is."
As for her movie projects, Ashanti recently wrapped a shoot in India for
the upcoming "Bride and Prejudice," a comedic remake of Jane Austen's
"Pride and Prejudice."
"That was bananas," Ashanti said of the film, which also stars Marsha
Mason ("2 Days in the Valley"). "I'm playing an Indian songstress
performing on a beach in Goa. And I had to actually sing in Hindi. They
thought I was Indian because I was singing with the little twang that they
have, so it was definitely a life-altering experience."
And she's currently working on "Coach Carter," a basketball film that
stars Samuel L. Jackson as the real-life school basketball coach who
benched his team for poor academic performance. The movie, which will also
feature 3LW member Adrienne Bailon, is due in theaters this October.
"My character's name is Kira, and she is the girlfriend of one of the
basketball players on the team," Ashanti said. "Me and him have a little
problem that needs to be solved. I'm not gonna tell you what it is. You
gotta go see it. The script is really good."
If that's not enough screen time for Ashanti fans, the R&B chanteuse will
also be releasing a DVD later this year full of performance shots and
behind-the-scenes footage. "It's incredibly funny," she said. "They
captured all of the bad things that happen, like if my shoe comes off or
my skirt flips the other way and backwards. It's all about seeing who I am
as a person and the things we go through to make the show happen."
She may deserve a long vacation, but Ashanti's not about to rest. She's
constantly working on her music, continues to receive scripts in the mail,
and is planning a summer tour with Ja Rule and Lloyd. "I don't want to
spread myself too thin," she said. "But I want to get out there while the
getting is good."



Carl Anderson 'Superstar' Singer, Actor Dead At 58

Carl Anderson, a balladeer and actor known for his rich, expressive voice and
whose greatest success during a three-decade career was playing Judas in the
landmark musical Jesus Christ Superstar, died at a hospital Monday February
23rd after a seven-month battle with leukemia. He was 58.
Anderson was diagnosed with leukemia last summer during a national revival
tour of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about the last week in the
life of Jesus.
He did not originate the Judas role, but played it in the original Broadway
production in 1971 and in the 1973 film directed by Norman Jewison.

Carl Anderson was born in 1945 in Lynchburg, VA, and moved to Washington
in 1969. Anderson sang with the rock band Second Eagle before relocating to
Los Angeles in the early '70s and joining Motown in 1971. While working with
Stevie Wonder on some songs that were never issued, Anderson began acting. He
was in both the film and stage productions of Jesus Christ Superstar during the
early and mid-'70s, and also made appearances in several L.A. clubs. CBS talent
scout Larkin Arnold signed Anderson to his label in 1980, and Richard Rudolph
produced his Columbia debut, Absence Without Love, in 1982. Although it
included the still very popular 'Buttercup' (a collaboration with Stevie Wonder) it
didn't attract much attention. His second LP, On & On, included the single "Magic"
and duet "It's The Love" with Vanesse Thomas, which did well internationally.
He cut two more LPs for the label, and the 1986 release Carl Anderson earned
him his lone pop hit, the duet "Friends and Lovers" with soap star Gloria Loring
that made it to the number two spot. Anderson recorded with Nancy Wilson and
Weather Report in 1987; his duet with Wilson, "Forbidden Lover," won critical
praise. He recorded An Act of Love for Polydor in 1988, and Pieces of a Heart
and Fantasy Hotel for GRP in 1990 and 1992, respectively. His acting career
continued as well, with appearances in the television programs Hill Street Blues
and Hotel and the film The Color Purple.


New Album By The O'Jays Due This Summer

A new studio album due this summer from classic soul trio the O'Jays will be the
group's first under a new multiple-album deal signed with Mathew Knowles' Sony
Music-distributed Music World Music (MWM) label, Billbaord.Biz reports.
Knowles -- who is the father of singers Beyoncé and Solange, as well as manager
of Destiny's Child -- also plans to sign classic soul acts to his urban label through
Sanctuary. He says he has had "initial discussions" with '80s R&B hitmakers the
Whispers. Knowles says his wish list includes Chaka Khan, De La Soul and Maze
featuring Frankie Beverly.



Thump Records and Jay King Sign Old School Acts

Bill Walker, CEO of Thump Records is set to reposition itself as the original home
of classic R&B. Thump Records has already confirmed Lakeside, Midnight Star,
Michael Cooper and Lenny Williams as signings.
With an allstar-old school line up like that, you need a seasoned vet to lead the project
to success. That's why Walker chose Jay King.
An executive and artist, King is more than equipped for the task. King was 23 years
old when he created a new chapter in musical history by single-handedly producing,
pressing, marketing and promoting the million selling smash “Rumors” by the Timex
Social Club, turning it into the biggest selling independent R&B 12” single in history.
He then went on to form Club Nouveau, spawning such hits as “Lean On Me,” “Why
You Treat Me So Bad,” “Situation #9,” and “Jealousy,” with Club Nouveau becoming
one of the most distinctive and original groups to influence the contemporary music

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