Category Archives: Music

Legendary Oleta Adams Releases Intimate New Album, Hits The Concert Trail

*One of the hallmarks of Oleta Adams’ 45 year career has been the authenticity she brings to any and every lyric. Whether it’s the yearning behind her 1990 breakout hit “Get Here,” her incendiary cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind”, or the joy that runs through her 2006 holiday collection Christmas Time With Oleta, Adams’ listeners never have had to wonder whether the artist is feeling what she’s singing.

Fans may be surprised to hear that there was a time when Adams felt pressured to sing what her audience wanted to hear, rather than what was in her heart.

“Mostly I did hotel gigs,” Adams remembers of the days before she became a household name. “They were usually big hotels that had conventions coming in — funeral directors, insurance people, medical people, professional athletes, all sorts of people.”

“How do you keep an audience that doesn’t know what you do? You have to perform the songs they’re familiar with, and that’s the top of the charts on the radio — whether you’re feeling those songs or not.”

Adams, 63 recalls that early stage in her career when she dedicated her performances’ third set to songs that she wanted to do, with less pressure on what was expected of her. That same freedom — to sing the songs she wants to sing — is behind her phenomenal new album, aptly entitled Third Set. Continue reading

Kenny G Deserves His Props! The Legend’s On The Road, Still Practices Three Hours Every Day

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Kenny G still practices on his saxophone three hours every day!

*I’ve never quite understood why the legendary Kenny G didn’t get more props.

I’ve been a fan of his since 1986, after a single listen to “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love” from his breakthrough Duotones album. That collection also included “Songbird” which established him — with his sublime saxophone — as a force to be reckoned with on R & B, pop, and Adult Contemporary radio.

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The artist formerly known as Kenneth Gorelick went on to release hit after hit and several multiplatinum albums, eventually becoming the world’s best selling instrumentalist. A couple of his projects broke records that remain unchallenged: his 1992 Breathless set still stands as the best selling instrumental album of all time, having sold over 12 million copies. That album’s follow-up, 1994’s Miracles, has sold an unprecedented eight million copies to-date, dwarfing the sales of all other Christmas albums. The artist regularly collaborated with artists like Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, Toni Braxton, and Babyface.  Continue reading

Former Celebrities Who Left Hollywood for ‘Regular’ Jobs

Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Freddie Prinze, Jr. I remember your daddy!

*You’ve heard the saying, “Everything that sparkles ain’t gold” right? Well, suffice it to say that doesn’t only apply to jewelry. In this case, it represents all of the people who have made it to the celebrity list…without the celebrity money. So what do they do?

Like the chorus of the old Silhouettes song sings: “Get A Job.”

Listen, the reality of the entertainment industry, in the event you didn’t know, is, everyone has a periodic lull. Nobody is working and getting paid in their craft all the time. Now let’s be real, if you’re making several million dollars an episode on a network TV gem or a blockbuster film, your pain is going to be different than the pain of someone making a fraction of that.

So it should be no big surprise that there are people whose name we may recognize that we may very well see standing behind the counter at the post office saying, “How can I help you.”

I’m not even going to front, I would have the hardest time keeping a straight face if I happened upon this. Continue reading

Charles Wright, Funk & R&B Legend, at South Pasadena Library this Thursday! (Free)

Charles Wright
Charles Wright

*A very special Author and Music Night in honor of Black History Month brings Charles Wright, legendary L.A. musician and bestselling author of “Up From Where We’ve Come: An Eventful Journey” to the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m.  The event will also feature Petrella, “The First Lady of Country Soul” and her band, Mixed Influence. The event is free and will be presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, with special thanks to 210 eastsound!

Charles Wright is the founder of the pioneering funk and R&B band of the 60s and early 70s, The Watts 103 Street Rhythm Band, known for the hits “Do Your Thing”, “Till You Get Enough”, and “Love Land”. Their biggest and most enduring hit “Express Yourself” is among the most sampled tracks by rap and hip hop groups. Continue reading

‘The Voice Of Romance’ Johnny Mathis Kicks Off Concert Tour…at 81 Years Young

Johnny Mathis.

*A few days ago, a colleague shared her perspective about music legend Johnny Mathis as he relates to current media consumers. She said she thought that today’s online readers “…are too young to know who Johnny Mathis is…”

As a lifelong Mathis fan, I was stung by those words. Could she have been right?

I swallowed hard as I took those words in, and clicked on my iTunes “Johnny Mathis” playlist. After listening to a few classics like “Misty,” “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” and “Chances Are,” I reflected on my colleague’s perspective. If she’s right, I surmised, it’s my job as a journalist to educate, to inform. And so…

Today’s Black History Month moment is brought to you by the incomparable Johnny Mathis! 

At the age of 19, San Francisco’s John Royce Mathis was headed to the Olympic trials when he turned his back on his promising athletic career and accepted an offer to meet with a representative from Columbia Records.

“I was overjoyed to get out of high jumping,” Mathis laughed by phone. “It was such a pain — literally. I had a bad back like a lot of athletes do. It limited not only my performance but my livelihood for whatever other physical activities I wanted to do. So when the telegram came, it sounded too good to be true, to get an invitation to come to New York and make a record.”

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Stephanie Mills Featured ‘A Special Evening for Friends and Lover’s’ on Valentine’s Day

Stephanie Mills

*Rainbow Promotions, LLC will present “A Special Evening of Music for Friends and Lovers” — a Valentine’s Day concert featuring the remarkable Stephanie Mills, along with Eric Darius, and The L.A. Collective on Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Long Beach  Terrace Theater Performing Arts Center located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802

TICKET Prices range from $70 – $175  for VIP Dinner packages which includes a savory 3-course dinner and a rose for each lady.

Doors for VIP ticket holders open at 4:30 p.m. with dinner being served from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Doors for regular non-dinner ticket holders will open at 6:30 p.m.

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To purchase tickets, go to Ticketmaster.com, visit http://bit.ly/Valentines2017 or call (800) 745-3000.

For more information, call Rainbow Promotions (562) 424-0013 or visit www.rainbowpromotions.com

Ah Sukie, Sukie Now…10 of the Absolute Best Soul Songs of All Time (and How They Came to Be)!

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*Some of y’all may be a tad too young to have grooved to these classics like us baby-boomers. I recall living in a huge basement apartment in the Bronx, New York (my dad was “the super” aka resident manager). There were six of us kids who, along with my parents, would blast Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Little Stevie Wonder and raise the roof off the mutha in the process.

I can recall my young stepmom, in all of her 30-something glow, laughing and dancing with us kids to songs like Martha & The Vandellas’ “Heatwave (1963),” Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood (1966),”  The Drifters “Up On The Roof (1962),” and James Brown’s “This Is A Man’s World (1966)” — which was like an anthem in our house!

My dad, who was 30 years my mom’s senior, was one cool cat. He would show us doses of his swag…after he’d had a couple of drinks, of course. I can still smell his sweet cigar, as he’d stand up and do his steps in place, wearing sunglasses and the one dashiki shirt he had to his name.

So take a stroll with me down memory lane, will ya. This, my friends, is what good, soul music was and is all about. You can “click” on each song title to hear the original music. Plus, check out some of the history behind these songs and afterwards, if I’ve sparked your memory, feel free to share some of your own favorites and the memories that come to mind because of them. Continue reading

Sweet Honey In The Rock’s Carol Lynn Maillard Prepares To Perform..and Goes OFF on Donald Trump!

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*The legendary Sweet Honey In The Rock and the equally legendary San Francisco Symphony are joining forces on December 23rd.

That really should be all it takes to get you to get your tickets. But if you need further persuasion, keep reading!  Just a few minutes with founding member Carol Lynn Maillard and you realize that Sweet Honey’s holiday performance in the city by the Bay isn’t to be missed.

“A little more than half of the show will be a cappella, and the other half is done with a bass accompaniment,” Maillard said. “It’s gonna be such an amalgam of different styles and sounds!We’ll perform some traditional material that people know, some songs from the African American spiritual tradition, some quartet songs, and some covers from Marvin Gaye. We’ll also perform some stuff from our latest recording.”

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