Q Sues Michael Jackson Estate

Quincy Jones ‘ musical direction took Michael Jackson from being a star to being an international superstar, Had there been no Q – the production quality of Jackson’s three biggest albums would have been different, and arguably less stellar.

So this one is a bit of a shocker.

Quincy Jones sues Michael Jackson’s estate

Quincy Jones sued Michael Jackson’s estate on Friday claiming he is owed millions in royalties and production fees on some of the superstar’s greatest hits.

Jones’ lawsuit seeks at least $10 million from the singer’s estate and Sony Music Entertainment, claiming the entities improperly re-edited songs to deprive him of royalties and production fees. The music has been used in the film “This Is It” and a pair of Cirque du Soleil shows based on the King of Pop’s songs, the lawsuit states.

Jones also claims that he should have received a producer’s credit on the music in “This Is It.” His lawsuit seeks an accounting of the estate’s profits from the works so that Jones can determine how much he is owed.

The producer worked with Jackson on three of his most popular solo albums, “Off the Wall,” ”Thriller” and “Bad.”

Jackson’s estate wrote in a statement that it was saddened by Jones’ lawsuit. “To the best of its knowledge, Mr. Jones has been appropriately compensated over approximately 35 years for his work with Michael,” the statement said.

An after-hours message left at Sony Music’s New York offices was not immediately returned.

Jackson’s hits “Billie Jean,” ”Thriller” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” are among the songs Jones claims were re-edited to deprive him of royalties and his producer’s fee. Jones’ lawsuit states the producer’s contracts called for him to have the first opportunity to re-edit or alter the songs, in part to protect his reputation.

 

What Fun! Welcome to Tokyo Olympics 2020 Promo

This one is fun!

Hittin’ The Last Lick…Butch Warren – Bassist

If you are, or ever have been a fan of the great artists recording on Blue Note back in the 50′s and 60′s Jazz nadir… You have heard Butch Warren.

Starting as a bassist for Thelonious Monk in the late 50′s, Warren – a DC native, became the “house bassist” for Blue Note’s recording studio, and toured with many of the label’s greats.

Edward ‘Butch’ Warren, Washington-born bassist, dies at 74

Edward “Butch” Warren, a Washington-born bassist who performed on celebrated albums of the modern jazz era before vanishing almost completely from the music scene because of drug addiction and deteriorating mental health, died Oct. 5 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. He was 74.

The cause was lung cancer, said a daughter, Sharon Warren.

Mr. Warren, who reappeared in Washington clubs in recent years, was best known for the recordings he made from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. He was discovered by trumpeter Kenny Dorham on a trip through the District and, within a matter of years, the 19-year-old Warren was working at the center of New York’s elite orbit of hard-bop jazz musicians.

As the house bass player for the Blue Note record label in New York, he helped set the pace and tone on first-rate albums by saxophonist Dexter Gordon, trumpeter Donald Byrd and pianists Herbie Hancock and Sonny Clark. He also toured the world with Thelonious Monk in 1963 and 1964 and was considered a promising disciple of the wildly innovative pianist and composer.

“Warren’s rich, loping bass is well suited to Monk’s rhythms if not his harmonic ideals,” Time magazine noted in a 1964 story about the band. “He is like a pony in pasture who traces his mother’s footsteps without stealing her grace.”

He left his mark on albums such as Hancock’s “Takin’ Off” (1962), Gordon’s “Go!” (1962), Jackie McLean’s “Vertigo” (1963), Dorham’s “Una Mas” (1963) and “Miles & Monk at Newport” (1964) with Miles Davis and Monk. Mr. Warren also wrote pieces included on several of the Blue Note albums, including “Eric Walks,” a tribute to his son, then a toddler taking his first steps.

Lean and lanky with an impassive face and an enduring attachment to the narrow lapels and thin ties popular among bop artists of the mid-century, Mr. Warren was for decades a mysterious, silent presence along the fringes of the Washington jazz scene.

After his return from New York in the mid-’60s, he was for a few years a regular in the house band on Channel 4’s morning talk show, “Today With Inga.” Then he largely disappeared, popping up from time to time at a club gig or at the Friday night jazz shows at Westminster Presbyterian Churchin Southwest Washington.

The Washington Post found Mr. Warren in 2006 in the locked-down psychiatric ward at Springfield Hospital Center , an institution 50 miles north of the District in Sykesville, Md. He had lost most of his teeth, and he seemed dazed and distracted. He had lost his apartment in a seniors’ facility in Silver Spring, lost his balance, lost his bass. “This is about the best place I’ve ever lived,” he told The Post.

The staff at the mental hospital knew him only as “Ed” until a worker on the ward got curious, Googled him, and discovered that the patient who kept asking for permission to play the piano in the recreation room was one of the lost bassists of the venerated Blue Note era.

Edward Rudolph Warren Jr., who was born on Aug. 9, 1939, grew up surrounded by music. His father was an electronics technician and a pianist who played at local clubs and opened his home to touring black musicians. His mother, Natalie, was for many years a typist at the CIA. Continue reading

FAMU Marching 100 Return

The Marching 100 returned yesterday to a Half Time show between FAMU and Mississippi Valley State. It’s reputation as one of the elite Marching Band units at the College level is sadly tarnished, and it’s reputation as an HBCU tradition is at it’s lowest point. Hopefully the new School President, Band Leader, and students can return the unit, and the traditions it represented before the scandal back to the heights the band once enjoyed.

FAMU band makes first appearance in nearly two years after hazing incident

Twenty-two months after Florida A&M University’s band was suspended in the wake of a hazing death of a drum major, it was back on the field Saturday, performing at the season-opener against Mississippi Valley State.

The Marching 100 was not allowed to perform after Robert Champion collapsed and died after a hazing ritual on a bus in November 2011. That suspension was lifted in June, after the resignation of the band’s longtime director and the university president.

The scandal resulted in charges of manslaughter and felony hazing being placed against 15 former band members. Seven have made plea deals, another has a deal but has not been sentenced and the other seven await trial, according to the Associated Press.

The parents of the hazing victim, who have filed wrongful death lawsuits against FAMU and the bus company, told the AP that they believed the return of the band was “too soon.”

“I don’t see anything that’s different to ensure the safety of those students,” Pam Champion said. “Everything that has been put in place is not something that was done voluntarily.”

Larry Robinson, the university’s interim president, announced the decision to strike up the band, saying it would be “a model of excellence for other bands across this nation. It will actually focus on its founding principles of character, academics, leadership, marching and service.”

On Saturday, the band was back on the field at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.

French Hip Hop?

There is an old saying that a “Lie can get half way around the world before Truth has a chance to get its pants on”.

There is one thing faster – music.

Festival celebrates French hip-hop

Since the founding of Washington, it has been tres facile to sense the French influence in the circles, grids and diagonals bequeathed by Pierre L’Enfant, and in recent years, it seems no office is more than steps away from a French (or French-named) place to buy a croissant.

You’d think Sylvain Cornevaux, cultural director of the Alliance Francaise, would consider his mission accomplished now that it’s so easy to pick up baguettes in our French-formatted city. He doesn’t.

“The bread, the architecture — these things are French, and these things are very nice, but they are also very old,” Cornevaux said. And so this month, in an effort to connect the District’s streets with the New France, he has organized a festival of French hip-hop dance.

Oui. French hip-hop dance. Does that sound oxymoronic? Au contraire, Cornevaux explains. Given the influx of immigrants from former French colonies and the general French fascination with urban American life, hip-hop culture caught on in France but quickly merged with higher-brow art. The result is choreography that’s now being exported back to the United States. And thus we have “Urban Corps: A Transatlantic Hip-Hop Festival,” which continues through Friday, May 25, at venues in Arlington County and the District.

“It is very interesting, because hip-hop was born in the U.S. but it has quickly developed in another way in France,” Cornevaux said. “Hip-hop was still an emerging artistic field in the beginning of the ’80s, but at the beginning of the ’90s, many hip-hop artists started working a lot with classical choreographers and with artistic directors of theaters. [Dancers] kept their hip-hop skills but transformed to show them in a contemporary manner. They incorporate hip-hop, mime and Capoeira,” a Brazilian blend of athletic dance and martial arts.

The Alliance, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting French language and culture, worked hard to obtain visas for 13 dancers affiliated with four French companies, and each troupe received funding from its home town or region to cover travel. The city of Nantes even paid to ship extensive sets for KLP Company’s show “Tour of Duty” to that Atlas Performing Arts Center.

“Tour of Duty” may sound like a show inspired by military battles or war video games, but according to press materials and the company’s Web site, it’s actually a narrative tracing the history of hip-hop in Brooklyn, beginning in 1960, and recounting years of gang wars and communities coming together.

Junious Brickhouse, founder of the District-based hip-hop collective Urban Artistry, is a bit skeptical about the storyline — Brooklyn? What about the South Bronx? — but suspects that the dancing will be on target. “I’ll be honest. I think there are some things that get lost in translation,” Brickhouse said, “but at the end of the day, I just want to get down with some nonverbal art.”…

Chez Chez…Indeed.

Donna Summer

Dang! It has been a bad week for 70′s artists. First Duck Dunn of Booker T and the MGs fame, then Go Go Godfather Chuck Brown…

And now the Disco Queen herself – Donna Summer.

Donna Summer dead at 63

Disco legend Donna Summer died Thursday at age 63, reportedly after a battle with cancer.

“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith,” the singer’s family said in a statement. “While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.”

TMZ was the first to report the singer’s death, and the site reports that she was recording an album at the time of her death.

The Grammy-winning singer, nicknamed the Queen of Disco, had numerous hits in both the 1970s and 1980s, including “Last Dance,” “She Works Hard for the Money” and “Bad Girls.”

Summer was the first female artist to chart with back-to-back multi-platinum double albums.

Summer won five Grammy Awards and six American Music Awards, and charted three multi-platinum albums.

And one more favorite -

Chuck Brown – Godfather of Go Go

Used to be, you could tell what city you were in by the music on the radio. CATV and the homogenization of channels after major radio companies consolidated the small local stations – pretty much killed that.

Chuck Brown was a DC institution. I heard Chuck Brown play the first time back in the 70′s, and have heard him play probably 15 or 20 times since. For years he played the “Cabaret” circuit – yet another institution peculiar to DC.

The he started playing a new type of music – Go Go.

Two things you needed to go to a Go Go Club…

Your dancing shoes – and a willingness to boogie all night.

RIP Chuck!

And -

FAMU Marching 100 Suspended…

It appears that the consequences of the hazing scandal at FAMU are beginning to mount up…

Famed FAMU marching band suspended another year

Florida A&M University’s famed marching band is being suspended for at least one more school year as officials try to cleanse the hazing culture that led to the death of a drum major, the school’s president said Monday.

FAMU President James Ammons said the Marching 100 should stay off the field at least until a new band director is hired and new rules for the band have been adopted.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony charges in the November hazing death of Robert Champion, while two others face misdemeanor counts. The band has been banned from performing since soon after he died, and band director Julian White recently retired after it was revealed that at least 100 band members were not students when Champion died.

“There is no question the band must be restructured, there are measures we feel we must take,” Ammons said.

Ammons was already under pressure from many state officials — including Gov. Rick Scott — to keep the Marching 100 sidelined until other ongoing investigations into the band are completed.

The Marching 100 has had a rich history, performing at Super Bowls and in inauguration parades. The band has been one of the main draws during FAMU football games, and some board members on Monday wanted to know if the decision to keep the band off the field until 2013 would impact ticket sales.

But several trustees told Ammons on Monday that they supported his decision to keep the band suspended.

Travis Roberts, a 25-year-old clarinet player from Fort Lauderdale who has been on the band four years, said he also agreed with the decision. Roberts, who said he has never been hazed because he chose not to be, wants to make sure the university takes real steps toward addressing the issue.

“What do we do in that one year process to make sure these things do not happen again?” Roberts asked. “We lack consistency at times, and this is something that needs to change. … No one has taken accountability for what has happened. This thing didn’t start only five years ago. This thing has happened the past 50 years.” Continue reading

Donald “Duck” Dunn

Back in he 60′s, you wanted to make music – you needed a band. There wasn’t any electronic machinery to make appropriate noises at pre-planned intervals. There wa no wizard circuitry to cover up the fact that your lead couldn’t sing…

1970 Pic of Booker T and the MGs. From left to tight Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Steve Cropper.

That band for a lot of famous groups either on or associated with the STAX Label was Booker T and the MGs, who individually or as a group backed up just about anyone who was anyone in Southern Rock or Southern R&B for over 20 years. They and the Funk Brothers out of Detroit (the Motown Sound machine) defined not only soul or R&B music – but often played with rock groups. A short list of R&B Greats these guys backed included  Otis ReddingSam & DaveAlbert KingJohnnie TaylorEddie FloydThe Staple SingersWilson Pickett, and Delaney & Bonnie. A session player for the group was Isaac Hayes. Among the groups they influenced were the Beatles.

The distinctive sound of the group came from the Hammond B-3 and later the H-3 Organ, played by Booker T, and Issac Hayes – combined with the tightest base line possible laid down by Donald “Duck” Dunn, who would also play as bass for the The Blues BrothersMuddy WatersFreddie KingAlbert KingNeil YoungJerry Lee LewisEric ClaptonTom PettyCreedence Clearwater RevivalWilson PickettSam & DaveGuy SebastianRod StewartBob DylanRoy BuchananArthur Conley, Stephen Stills, and Eric Clapton.

Dunn used a sunburst Fender Precision bass with a rosewood fretboard and a red pickguard. In 1998, Dunn collaborated with Fender to produce a signature Precision Bass, a candy apple red-colored model based on the late 1950s style, with a gold anodized pickguard, a split-coil humbucking pickup and vintage hardware. The Duck Dunn P-Bass became the basis for a Skyline Series signature bass made by Chicago bass company Lakland a few years later, which is still available.

Booker T and MGs Bassist Dunn Dies

Bass player and songwriter Donald “Duck” Dunn, a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band Booker T. and the MGs and the Blues Brothers band, has died in Tokyo. He was 70. Dunn was in Tokyo for a series of shows. News of his death was posted on the Facebook site of his friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper, who was on the same tour. Cropper said Dunn died in his sleep.

A spokeswoman for Tokyo Blue Note, the last venue Dunn played, confirmed he died alone early today. She had no further details. Dunn, who was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1941, performed on recordings with Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and many others, and specialized in blues, gospel, and soul. He played himself in the 1980 hit movie, The Blues Brothers. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007 for his work with Booker T. and the MGs.

No “Green Onions” for this – I think a little “Time is Tight” is in order -

Stevie Wonder Victim of Attempted Blackmail

Damn – “Street Pirates” for relatives…

Stevie Wonder Blackmail: Couple Seeking The Star’s Money Charged With Extortion

Two people have been charged with extortion after police detectives say they arrested the pair for trying to sell what they said was embarrassing information about Stevie Wonder.

The duo, Alpha Lorenzo Walker and his girlfriend Tamara Eileen Diaz, have been jailed since their arrest on May 2. Both have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to appear in court on May 16 for a hearing in which a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for them to stand trial.

According to a felony complaint, Walker and Diaz attempted to obtain money from the Grammy-winning musician, who is identified by his birth name, Steveland Morris. An email message sent to Wonder’s studio was not immediately returned Friday.

Walker, 38, was on probation at the time of his arrest after pleading no contest to grand theft in May 2011. A judge issued a suspended three-year prison sentence in that case and he is due in court for a probation violation hearing May 31.

District attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison says Walker contacted Wonder’s representatives claiming to have embarrassing information about the musician. Detectives organized a sting and the pair were arrested. Police did not release additional details about their investigation Friday.

Walker identifies himself as Wonder’s nephew and is being held without bail because of another case.

Diaz’s bail is set at $95,000. Both are being represented by public defenders, who did not immediately return calls for comment.

Diaz was placed on three years of probation after pleading no contest in February 2011 to possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, court records show.

The case was first reported Friday by celebrity website TMZ.

Chaka Khan, Chaka Kan, Chaka!

Take a list among black men of age in the early 70′s of the 10 sexiest female R&B vocalists – and you can bet Chaka Khan is at or near the top of the list.

The little woman with the big voice rocked stages around the world, before drugs and alcohol took a toll on her body, looks, and voice.

Chaka is back (looking damn good!) and last night at the newly reopened Howard Theater in DC, she brought down the house!

This is Chaka from the 70′s, with Rufus – doing one of her signature tunes -

This is the “new” and improved version from last night -

A svelte and sexy Chaka brings down the house

Chaka Khan takes crowd at Howard Theatre ‘Through the Fire’

In the middle of her hit “Through the Fire,” R&B powerhouse Chaka Khan stopped to give a personal testimony Saturday night at the Howard Theatre.

“I used to be a bad, bad, bad girl,” the 10-time Grammy winner told the sold-out show. “I used to party back in the day. I’d get off the road, and say to myself, ‘I need a break today.’ And I would leave my two kids with my mother and go AWOL.”

As she partied, Khan said, she carried her cellphone but would not answer it.

“Why wouldn’t you pick up the phone?” someone in the audience yelled at the diva on stage.

“Because,” Khan said, “when you are out there doing that stuff you don’t pick up the phone.”

But one night, “I was so high, I picked up.” Continue reading

Wyclef Jean and “Justice – If You Are 17″”

Met Wyclef last year in the Airport Lounge of the Port au Prince Airport. Really a personable, well spoken guy. We talked a bit about some of his Yele Haiti projects, which you can see in action in a number of parts of the city.

Wyclef Jean Drops 'Justice' for Trayvon Martin

Wyclef Jean wants ‘Justice’ for Trayvon Martin

Celebs have been tweeting their thoughts on the controversial Trayvon Martin case, in which a 17-year-old boy was shot to death this past February by neighborhood-watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

But Wyclef Jean has decided to spread Martin’s story with a different approach…

The Fugees musician teamed up with Prescribed and J. Williams to create a track titled “Justice (If You’re 17)” in dedication to Martin, which was dropped today as a free download.

“Justice” starts with the lyrics, “If you’re 17/And you’re wearing a hoodie/You’re on the phone/Talking to your shorty/Make no mistake/There’s one like you/In every city/You know the story,” and later continues with, “If you’re 17 with a hoodie on/ Watch out for the neighborhood watcher/ If you’re at the right neighborhood at the wrong time/ Neighborhood watcher/ This might be your last call to your girlfriend/ The neighborhood watcher/ Man I feel for you if you’re 17.”

Along with the track, J. Williams and Prescribed made a short called “I Am”which deals with not only the Trayvon Martin case, but profiling globally.

A music video for “Justice” is expected to be released April 20.

This is Why You are Fat!

Eddies Harris! Thanks Brotherbrown!

Musical history of the blues found in juke joints – CBS News

A few of the old Juke Joints still survive. Wynton Marsalis takes on a trip down History Lane finding several Juke Joints still operating.

Musical history of the blues found in juke joints

In a downhome neighborhood on the outskirts of Birmingham, Ala., Rita James bought an abandoned building and built a happy home for the blues. Her tiny, unmarked Red Wolf club invites the entire community.

Just four years old, The Red Wolf is a real juke joint. It’s roots go all the way back to Emancipation. In the old South, poverty made life more extreme. So folks found barns, shacks, anywhere – to play, sing and dance their sorrows away. Over time, these places became known as juke joints. Within their walls the blues were born.

Every Wednesday night, Wilson takes the microphone and gets the people on their feet. But it’s the music that brings them together.

“I just make them feel good,” Wilson said. “That’s just me period. Anywhere. I make the crippled feel good – make them think they can walk again.”

First-timer BJ Miller drove 500 miles from St. Louis for a chance to blow her trombone in a place where spirits are served, and freed.

“It’s not that they just serve alcohol,” Miller said. “It’s that they are serving musicians the opportunity to express themselves – and that’s not everywhere.”

“The blues has good and sad, so it’s for good too,” Wilson said. “And you know I like the blues. I like music period, I like all music, so music cheer me on and make me feel good.”

The blues are good for the soul. Their rhythms are inseparable from the American identity, and they’re not naive. The blues tell us bad things happen all the time, and they do, and we can engage with them. The blues are like a vaccine. If you want to get rid of something, give yourself a little bit of it, and when the real thing comes – you’re ready for it.

If Rita has any say in the matter, they’ll be an integral and constant part of the future. Wilson said her club will stay open, “until I drop.”

Before the Apollo – There Was the Howard Theater

Saw a number of acts here as a kid – From Duke Ellington to Moms Mabley to Nancy Wilson and Pigmeat Markum… Even saw Tina Turner shake a shapely leg there…

During the 60′s this was one of two venues which had black musicians on stage in DC. The other being the Carter Baron Ampithater, and outdoor venue only open during the summer…

Jackie Wilson, Temptations, Booker T and the MGs – every major black act in America played here from the 20′s to the 60′s.

New Howard Theater

The Original Theater Built in 1910

D.C.’s Howard Theatre: What made it an essential sanctuary of black Washington?

Marvin Gaye sang his debut hit “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” when he returned to the Howard Theatre in October 1962 with the first Motown tour. The audience went wild over its hometown son. His mother, who was in the audience, poked everyone around her and told them, “That’s my boy!” The lineup included Marv Johnson, Mary Wells, the Miracles, the Marvelettes and the Vandellas. The Supremes, making their stage debut, were the opening act. Miles Davis had been a headliner the previous week.

Before New York’s Apollo Theater, there was the Howard. Built in 1910, it was the first legitimate theater in the country open to African Americans. The Howard Theatre helped make Washington the early cultural capital of black America. Over 60 years, virtually every top African American entertainer performed on its stage, including Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, the Drifters, Ruth Brown, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Going to the Howard at Seventh & T in the District’s Shaw neighborhood was a part of growing up for generations of Washingtonians, some of whom went on to achieve fame of their own. Atlantic Recordsfounder Ahmet Ertegun said he got his doctorate in black music there. One of its ragtime musicians taught Billy Taylor to play piano. After Billy Eckstine won several amateur night contests at the Howard, theater manager Shep Allen told the teenager he was a professional, lent him a tuxedo and booked him to do a show. Shirley Horn said a show she saw there made her switch from classical piano to jazz. Pearl Bailey danced in the chorus line while taking voice lessons. And Duke Ellington often won the theater’s band contests with his first quintet, the Duke’s Serenaders.

The Howard closed in 1970, a victim of desegregation, competition from larger venues and the 1968 riots. A 1975 reopening lasted only two weeks. Occasional shows followed, but it wasn’t the same. The theater was a go-go palace when it finally closed in the early ’80s.

With the Howard Theatre set to reopen this week, here’s a look at its legendary past through the eyes of people who were touched by it.

***

Gloria Thomas Gantt, 85, was a cashier at the Howard from 1959 to 1970. She became a manager for shows in the late ’70s.

I worked with Tina Turner, James Brown, B.B. King, Gladys Knight & the Pips. All of the big stars, I got a chance to work with them.

The Temptations had people all up and down the aisle. At that time, they were Number One. They were the star of the show. The women used to go crazy. Throw up their bras and underwear and everything onstage. Then they would write down their phone numbers. The star of the show, David Ruffin, would come down into the audience [when he sang] “My Girl.” If you were sitting there, he would sing to you. He would take the numbers and put them in his pocket and just keep right on singing. He never missed a beat.

Women would call me at the box office. “Could you tell me where so and so in James Brown’s band, where they are stayin’?” I’d say, “Honey, that’s a good question, ’cause I don’t know.” But somehow they would come in and go backstage, and they would find ’em… (More)

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