Sunday July 17th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- Gary Jenkins - The other side
- Wendell B - Good times
- Mary Mary - Mary Mary
- Chris Walker - I know it's love
- Jaguar Wright - Divorcing neo 2 marry soul
- Gary Jenkins - The other side (UK release)
Music news headlines this week:
Mary J, Blige, Fantasia And Ruben Studdard To Sing On Vandross Tribute Album
Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Monica and Angie
Stone are among the artists contributing songs to the album “To Luther,
With Love ... A Tribute to Luther Vandross.”
The collection, which was in the works long before Luther Vandross’ July 1
passing, will come out Sept. 20 on J Records.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are helming many of the tracks. Jam stresses
that the producing duo spent much time pairing artists with songs.
“It’s important to give each artist their own palette,” Jam says. “Like
when Mary J. Blige does ’Never Too Much,’ it’s how it would have sounded
on her ’What’s the 411?’ album. That’s the sort of approach that we took
with it, so that it becomes her song. Celine Dion just stuns you with how
beautiful she sings ’Dance With My Father,’ and really, all the artists
are like that.”
Jam says working on the album renewed his appreciation for how much
Vandross brought to his material. “A lot of times we’ve taken a song and
it was a great song when Luther sang it, and when Luther doesn’t sing it,
it somehow loses something.”
A portion of the album’s proceeds will go to a charity that is yet to be
R. Kelly Shoots More Chapters For 'Trapped In The Closet' Saga
On July 5 at Chicago's Esquire movie theater, Kelly screened his five-part
mini-movie "Trapped in the Closet" and gave onlookers an added treat as
well: The Pied Piper debuted the songs for chapters six through 10 of
"Trapped in the Closet" and even acted out the words to one of the episodes
before hosting a party at Le Passage.
Over the weekend, Kelly began shooting videos for "Trapped in the Closet"
chapters six through 10, which all continue a central story. Production is
said to be wrapping this week, and as with the predecessors, Kelly is
Although his reps haven't disclosed much about the songs or videos, his
record company said they take up right where chapter five ended and will
keep fans guessing about what'll happen next.
There is no word yet on when the new videos will be released, but Kelly's
TP.3 Reloaded was released last week, and went straight to the top of
Billboard's latest albums chart.
Kem Says His Career Took Off When He Realized Spiritual Connection
Singer-songwriter Kem says his musical career bloomed when he realized
music was a spiritual expression of his own personal faith and
transformation. Now a recovering alcoholic who was once homeless on the
streets of Detroit , Kem used music as a healing force and produced his
first album, Kemistry, independently. The project was later picked up by
Motown and certified gold.
With his current project, Kem Album II, also certified gold, Kem continues
to acknowledge his spirituality during his shows. The singer recently
wrapped the Find Your Way tour with Fantasia and Rahsaan Patterson, and
has more dates lined up through the fall.
Recently, Kem told the Associated Press: "My career didn't take off until
I realized I could use my music as a witness to people all around the
world and letting them know how good God has been to me. I think we need
it in this day and age."
The singer added that fans tell him all the time about how his music has
affected them. "One of the greatest rewards for me is my music being the
soundtrack for an event that helps the spirit of the people listening to
it. There is something more than 'entertainment value,'" he continued.
"There was a woman who was recovering from breast cancer and all
throughout her treatment my music was the backdrop, and to be able to
create music that serves as a tool to uplift people and to touch people's
lives is an incredible thing."
Upcoming Kem concert dates include:
July 14 - Anaheim, CA - The Grove
July 15 - Los Angeles, CA - ICC Scottish Rite Auditorium
July 16 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre
Dennis Edwards Says He Was Immediately Struck By Stevie Wonder’s Talent
Former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards says that the musical
connections he made in Detroit are just as strong today as they were in
the '60s. Edwards, who now fronts his own Temptations Review and is
currently on tour through October, says that he still keeps in touch with
former Motown labelmates such as the Supremes' Mary Wilson and Stevie
Edwards, who started his career with the Motown act the Contours,
remembers being immediately amazed at Stevie Wonder's talent: ["The first
time I met him, man, I was at Motown -- of course Stevie was a little kid.
He plays all the time. Every time you hear him he's swinging. All you've
got to do is speak and Stevie knows who you are. He can't see and he's
like 'Dennis!' it's like... when I first met him I'm like 'How does he
know who I am?' Y'know?"
Edwards is currently recording a solo album for Aretha Franklin's own
Aretha Records label. The still untitled-album, which will feature a duet
with Aretha, is due out in 2006.
The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards performs next on July 23rd
in East Providence , Rhode Island at the Pierce Memorial Stadium.
Luther Vandross Gets Pitch-perfect Send-off at Funeral
The funeral service for eight-time Grammy winner Luther Vandross hit just
the right notes Friday: soulful, joyful and powerful, an echo of the late
singer's unforgettable voice.
Family, friends and fans filled The Riverside Church for a celebration of
Vandross' too-short life, a memorial service that morphed into a revival
meeting before ending with an all-star rendition of his hit single Power
of Love/Love Power.
Vandross' wide appeal was evident in the first few rows of mourners, where
current hitmakers Usher and Alicia Keys shared space with music legends
Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle.
"There are no sad faces here today," said longtime friend LaBelle,
resplendent in a bright yellow dress with a diamond necklace and earrings.
"It's not a mournful service. I'm celebrating because Luther would want us
Vandross, 54, died July 1 at a New Jersey hospital, two years after he
suffered a debilitating stroke. He sold more than 25 million records in
his long career, with hits like Stop For Love, Here and Now and Dance With
As Vandross' gold coffin sat at the foot of the altar, LaBelle read a poem
written by the R&B icon's mother, Mary Ida, who was seated in the front
row. Vandross' other family members, nine nieces and their 11 children,
filled in the seats around the family matriarch to remember the man known
to them as "Uncle Ronnie."
The altar bore just a single, simple floral arrangement, with white lilies
rising from a collection of white and yellow roses.
Mourners lined up for two city blocks in a driving rain before the church
opened. Once inside, they were brought to their feet and moved to cheers
repeatedly as Vandross favorites Wonder, Franklin and Cissy Houston sang
Houston performed the gospel standard Deep River, while Wonder left the
crowd breathless with his version of the gospel song I Won't Complain.
But it was Franklin, brushing aside a slight sore throat, who sent choir
and clergy dancing on the altar with her version of Amazing Grace.
Franklin began to ad-lib at song's end, addressing the Vandross family and
congregation as the music swelled and the crowd clapped along.
"There's healing in the name of Jesus!" she sang before returning to her
seat, where Franklin raised her hands and waved along with the rest of the
church as the organ music pulsated.
Before the funeral service, a hearse carrying the native New Yorker's
remains took Vandross on one final tour of Harlem, pausing outside the
Apollo Theater before heading west to the church. Before achieving
stardom, Vandross had twice finished second at the Harlem theater's famed
Singer Gladys Knight, another Vandross friend and admirer, sent along a
faxed message that referred to the singer's last hit, Dance with My
Father. Luther Vandross Sr. died when his son was still a child.
"We should be happy for Luther," her message said. "He made a difference
in this world, and now he has the extraordinary chance to dance with his