Sunday October 17th, 2004


New CD's this past week:

- Vanessa Williams Silver & gold

Music news stories this week:

Ronald Isley Indicted For Tax Evasion

Ronald Isley, lead singer of the legendary R&B act the Isley Brothers, has
been indicted on tax evasion charges, according to the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS).
The 63-year-old artist, who suffered a minor stroke in August, was named
in a six-count indictment returned Wednesday (Oct. 13) by a federal grand
jury in Los Angeles. He is charged with five counts of tax evasion for
failing to report income from royalties and performances by the band and
one count of failing to file an income tax return.
No figure was given for the amount of the alleged tax evasion but the
charges carry a maximum penalty of 26 years in prison. Isley could not
immediately be reached for comment.
The Isley Brothers formed in the early 1950s and enjoyed their biggest
success in the 1960s and 1970s with hits like their cover of "Twist and
Shout," "This Old Heart of Mine" and "Who's That Lady." Members came and
went, but in 1990 Ronald and his younger brothers Ernie and Marvin
reunited and produced several new albums.
The indictment against Ronald Isley covers 1997-2002 and alleges that he
evaded payment by depositing and using for his own benefit royalty checks
issued to other Isley Brothers-related entities and members of the band,
including his brother O'Kelly, who died in 1986.
While on tour, Isley required that half his fee be paid in cash on each
tour date and that he paid his musicians and performances in cash, the IRS
Isley is alleged to have controlled several bank accounts, and to have
told his booking agent to send part of his tour performance fees directly
to third parties for his own benefit.
The IRS said Isley used some of the money from his various accounts to buy
a yacht, a $1.8-million house in St. Louis in 1997 and a 100-acre estate
in Missouri for approximately $1 million.
An IRS spokesperson said Isley had not filed an income tax return between
1997 and 2001, which made it difficult for authorities to determine either
his income or how much tax may have been avoided.
Isley is expected to make his first court appearance regarding the charges
early next month.

Alicia Keys Says American Idol Is A Double-Edged Sword

Alicia Keys has mixed feelings about the value of the television show
American Idol. Although she acknowledges it's a great way to get noticed,
she thinks it encourages young artists to focus more on fame than artistic
development. She tells the Philippine Daily Inquirer, "It's great that
people have the opportunity to be heard in such a major way. On the other
hand, I feel that if it's only to be on TV so it can happen for you
quickly -- that kind of defeats the purpose of the passion of what music
is all about."
Keys was in the Philippines Saturday (October 9th) for a performance at
Manila 's Araneta Coliseum. American Idol 2004 finalist Jasmine Trias, who
says she's a big fan of Keys, took time out from her promotional tour of
the Philippines to attend the concert.
Although she was born in 1981, Keys says she's most influenced by music
from the '60s and '70s. She says, "I feel like I was alive then and now I
am reincarnated."
Keys' has three performances scheduled in Japan beginning Friday (October
15th) and then she'll travel to Australia where she'll wrap up her Asian

Mary J. Blige Released First Live Concert DVD

Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Mary J. Blige released her first live
concert DVD, Live In L.A., earlier this month and the singer plans to
return to the recording studio next year to record a new studio album.
Blige's last studio album was 2003's Love & Life, which was certified
platinum for sales of a million copies. The set failed to match the
double-platinum sales of its predecessors.
Blige she explained why she thinks she lost some fans: "I was just kinda
like really overjoyed at the fact that I'm actually happy with a man in my
life. I wanted to share that with my fans which most of them weren't ready
for. A lot of them weren't ready to hear Mary J. Blige this happy so I
probably lost maybe like a million of them."
Blige added: "But I gained a whole other thing. I might have gained maybe
somebody's, you know, marriage is saved through me doing this album. So
I'm really proud of the album in the sense that I had the courage to go
ahead and let people know I'm happy. I can't continue to live miserably to
sell a album."

Lalah Hathaway Planning All-Star Event To Honor Dad Donny

Vocalist and songwriter Lalah Hathaway, who has just released her
long-awaited new solo set, Outrun The Sky, on Mesa/Blue Moon Records, says
she has begun to create an all-star tribute event in October 2005 to honor
the legacy of her father, late R&B icon Donny Hathaway, on what would have
been his 60th birthday next year. Her plans include several concerts to be
recorded for a TV broadcast, and ultimately a DVD celebrating the
performer of "The Ghetto," "Someday We'll All Be Free," and chart-topping
duets with Roberta Flack.
Lalah says that she has been considering several formats, locations, and
participants in the last few months to honor her father, whose soulful
vocals, piano stylings, and culturally profound lyrics inspired a whole
generation of young singers. No details of the event have been set thus
far, but Lalah says she's been discussing the matter with her family and
colleagues. Hathaway said: "I don't know what it's going to be yet. I know
it's going to involve his music and some of the people that love him.
We're going to do something great, I just need to figure out what it is. I
just want it to be spectacular. So I have to find a way to honor my dad in
the way that I think is the way that he needs to be honored, because it
hasn't happened yet. So we're working on it."
Lalah herself was only 10 when depression led Donny Hathaway to take his
own life at 33 in a tragic jump from a New York hotel window in 1979.
Because Lalah's own vocal stylings are reminiscent of her father's soulful
phrasing and range, fans may think that she spent a lot of time by Donny's
side. But when asked to share her memories of him, she admits that because
her father worked so much and she was so young, she doesn't have many,
which is sometimes disappointing to fans who love Donny's music: "I have
no memories of him at all. I was 10 years old when he left here, so I don'
t have any memories. And I feel so bad for people that ask me 'cause they
just want to know something and I don't have anything to tell them. It's a
very strange phenomenon to not know someone but to know them so well. It's
real deep."


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