Celebrating and honoring legendary artists that paved the way for artists of today and the future is what’s happening this week in Nashville.
The second annual Black Music Honors taping will be held at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Friday, August 18. The event will be hosted by Rickey Smiley and LeToya Luckett. Here’s a look at this year’s honorees:
The Jacksons will be in the building performing and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. The brothers are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!
Performers include Jonathan Butler, Leela James, Avery Sunshine, Karen Clark Sheard, Kid N Play, SWV, Marvin Winans, Dave Hollister, Da Brat, Sevyn Streeter, and Vivian Green.
Meanwhile, summer is a time for enjoying outdoor and indoor music festivals. Over the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of attending not one but two events featuring legendary artists in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The QC Summerfest featured a great mixture of jazz and soul artists. Who knew that an electric violin could be so sensual? Violinist Ken Ford proved that you can take a violin and get people on their feet by playing anything with a beat you can groove to. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get video or photos of any of these events so I’ll just give you a sample of the type of music that was there with their performances from other events.
Kirk Whalum moved the audience to tears with his rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You” as he prefaced the performance with his interpretation of the song that took on a spiritual meaning.
Gerald Albright kicked the hinges off the doors with his portion of the show as he had the audience in the aisles grooving in a Soul Train line around the Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts. Neo-soul singer Eric Roberson showed us that you can take a Notorious Big classic and turn it into a smooth soul filled theatrical production.
Over the weekend, I checked the annual Funk Fest tour. Yes, it was over 90 degrees and humid, but that didn’t stop thousands of people from attending the event. Atlanta artists like Jagged Edge and Goodie Mob took us back to a time when the dirty south ruled the airwaves in the 90s. Beat-box legend Doug E. Fresh got the crowd hype by taking us on a trip down memory lane by reminding us when people loved to have fun with the music. He did that by playing old school jams, television show theme songs, and finally with his iconic beat box melodies.
The bad boy of R&B Bobby Brown made sure everyone remembered why the late great Whitney Houston referred to him as the “King of R&B,” as he sang hit after hit. He thanked the crowd for their unconditional love for him and his family.
One of the most prolific songwriters and producers of our time, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds rolled out his list of receipts by doing a melody of songs he wrote for artists like The Deele, The Whispers, After 7, Johnny Gill, Boyz II Men, and of course when he got Bobby Brown; he brought him out on stage and it was amazing to see two legends together, singing our favorites songs like “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Roni.”
Wrapping up the show was Erykah Badu. She is truly an artist that is out of this world!
The Funk Fest tour is still making the rounds across the south, so if it comes to your city, take my advice and get you a good dose of a soulful funky good time!