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Jazz Fest Canceled Due to Coronavirus Outbreak  


Per a statement issued by WILX TV the East Lansing's Summer Solstice Jazz Festival has been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. The festival was originally scheduled to take place on June 19 and 20 in downtown East Lansing. The Jazz Fest Advisory Board is exploring the possibility of a virtual festival and is making plans for a ticketed, live jazz event in September.

The city says it'll have an update once details are finalized.


Message from CABS Vice President:

"As we navigate through this perilous time together, CABS understands there are sacrifices we must all make to ensure the safety of our CABS members and this amazing community as a whole. With this highest priority, we have made the decision to postpone the Blues Brawl originally scheduled for May. Once we have the information that it is safe once again to hold events we will resume the monthly meetings and set a new date for the Blues Brawl. Until then friends please, stay safe, stay healthy, stay home. #Flattenthecurve"


The Common Ground music festival has been postponed to 2021 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first summer in 21 years that Common Ground has not been held, organizers stated. The concerts have been rescheduled to July 9-10, 2021. Anyone who has already purchased tickets can roll their tickets over or request a refund. Instructions on both options will be emailed to people who purchased tickets.

Blink-182 will still headline the festival, and organizers are working to reschedule other artists, organizers said. This would have been the first year Common Ground was held entirely at Cooley Law School Stadium. In past years, the festival was spread over several days at Adado Riverfront Park. Nelly, The Used, Grandson, The Legal Immigrants, Baby Bash, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Juvenile were booked to perform this year at the festival.

National News and Beyond

Winners of the 2020 Blues Music Awards

Winners of the 2020 Blues Music Awards
The Blues Foundation broadcast the 2020 Blues Music Awards virtually, with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram cleaning up, winning five awards. He won three awards for his debut album, Kingfish, as well as two performer awards – Best Contemporary Blues Male Artist and for Instrumentalist-Guitar. Nick Moss and his band also had a successful evening, winning three awards.

The star-studded evening included Warren Hayes, Beth Hart, Fantastic Negrito, Ken’ Mo’, and Ruthie Foster were amongst the presenters. Due to the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the annual gala held in Memphis had to be canceled, but instead, blues fans around the world were able to enjoy the show from the comfort of their own homes.

The winners of the evening were as follows:

BB King Entertainer of the Year
Sugaray Rayford

Album of the Year
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Band of the Year
The Nick Moss Band feat. Dennis Gruenling

Song of the Year
“Lucky Guy,” written by Nick Moss

Best Emerging Artist Album
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Acoustic Blues Album
This Guitar and Tonight, Bob Margolin

Acoustic Blues Artist
Doug MacLeod

Blues Rock Album
Masterpiece, Albert Castiglia

Blues Rock Artist
Eric Gales

Contemporary Blues Album
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Historical Blues Album
Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records – Definitive Collection, Earwig Music

Soul Blues Album
Sitting on Top of the Blues, Bobby Rush

Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette

Soul Blues Male Artist
Sugaray Rayford

Traditional Blues Album
Lucky Guy! The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

Traditional Blues Female Artist
Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Jimmie Vaughan

Instrumentalist Bass
Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Instrumentalist Drums
Cedric Burnside

Instrumentalist Guitar
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist Horn
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist Piano
Victor Wainwright

Instrumentalist Vocals
Mavis Staples

Kenny Rogers Noted Singer and Performer Has Passed at Age 87

Kenny Rogers was the iconic country music singer whose hit song "The Gambler" propelled him to Grammy-winning superstardom. Rogers followed “The Gambler” with hit songs including “She Believes in Me” and “Coward of the Country,” achieving new heights in 1980 when “Lady” topped the country chart and the Billboard Hot 100.

After working with bands and as a solo artist, Kenny Rogers released The Gambler in 1978. The title track became a huge country and pop hit and gave Rogers his second Grammy Award.

Singer and songwriter Kenneth Donald Rogers was born on August 21, 1938, in Houston, Texas. While his name was "Kenneth Donald" on his birth certificate, his family always called him "Kenneth Ray."

Rogers grew up poor, living with his parents and six siblings in a federal housing project. By high school, he knew that he wanted to pursue a music career. He bought himself a guitar and started a group called the Scholars. The band had a rockabilly sound and scored a few local hits.

Breaking out on his own, Rogers recorded the 1958 hit single "That Crazy Feeling" for the Carlton label. He even got to perform the song on Dick Clark's popular music program American Bandstand. Changing genres, Rogers then played bass with the Bobby Doyle Trio, a jazz group.

Moving on to a folk-pop style, Rogers was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels in 1966. He left after a year, along with a few other members of the group, to form the First Edition. Fusing folk, rock and country, the group quickly scored a hit with the psychedelic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." The band soon became known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and landed their own syndicated music show. They scored a few more hits, such as Mel Tillis' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town."
In 1974, Rogers left the group to go solo again and decided to focus his energy on country music. "Love Lifted Me" became his first solo top 20 country hit in 1975. Two years later, Rogers reached the top of the country charts with the mournful ballad "Lucille," about a man being left by his wife. The song also did well on the pop charts, making it into the top five and bringing Rogers his first Grammy, for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.

Quickly following up on this success, Rogers released The Gambler in 1978. The title track was again a huge country and pop hit and gave Rogers his second Grammy. He also showed his tender side with another popular ballad, "She Believes in Me." Kenny (1979) featured such hits as "Coward of the County" and "You Decorated My Life."
In addition to his solo work, Rogers recorded a series of hits with country legend Dottie West. The two reached the top of the country charts with "Every Time Two Fools Collide" (1978), "All I Ever Need Is You" (1979) and "What Are We Doin' in Love" (1981). Also in 1981, Rogers held the No. 1 spot on the pop charts for six weeks with his version of Lionel Richie's "Lady."
In 1983, Rogers scored one of the biggest hits of his career: a duet with Dolly Parton called "Islands in the Stream." Written by the Bee Gees, the tune went to the top of both the country and pop charts. Rogers and Parton won the Academy of Country Music Award for Single of the Year for their efforts.

Kenny Rodgers passed awy of Natural causes om March 20, 2020.

Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87
Pianist-singer behind “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally” set the template that a generation of musicians would follow

Little Richard, the massively influential rock and roll pioneer whose early hits inspired a generation of musicians, has died at 87.

Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday May 9, 2020. .

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics.

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,” and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions
Little Richard’s stage persona – his pompadours, asexual makeup and glass-bead shirts – also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, he was one of 12 children and grew up around uncles who were preachers. Although he sang in a nearby church, his father Bud wasn’t supportive of his son’s music and accused him of being gay, resulting in Penniman leaving home at 13 and moving in with a white family in Macon. But music stayed with him: One of his boyhood friends was Otis Redding, and Penniman heard R&B, blues and country while working at a concession stand at the Macon City Auditorium.

During a low point, he sent a tape with a rough version of a bawdy novelty song called “Tutti Frutti” to Specialty Records in Chicago. He came up with the song’s famed chorus — “a wop bob alu bob a wop bam boom” — while bored washing dishes. He also cowrote “Long Tall Sally” while working that same job.

By coincidence, label owner and producer Art Rupe was in search of a lead singer for some tracks he wanted to cut in New Orleans, and Penniman’s howling delivery fit the bill. In September 1955, the musician cut a lyrically cleaned-up version of “Tutti Frutti,” which became his first hit, peaking at 17 on the pop chart.

Its followup, “Long Tall Sally,” hit Number Six, becoming his the highest-placing hit of his career. For just over a year, the musician released one relentless and arresting smash after another. From “Long Tall Sally” to “Slippin’ and Slidin,’” Little Richard’s hits – a glorious mix of boogie, gospel, and jump blues sounded like he never stood still. With his trademark pompadour and makeup (which he once said he started wearing so that he would be less “threatening” while playing white clubs), he was instantly on the level of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other early rock icons.

By the 1970s, Little Richard was making a respectable living on the rock oldies circuit, immortalized in a searing, sweaty performance in the 1973 documentary Let the Good Times Roll. During this time, he also became addicted to marijuana and cocaine while, at the same time, returning to his gospel roots.

Little Richard also dismantled sexual stereotypes in rock & roll, even if he confused many of his fans along the way. During his teen years and into his early rock stardom, his stereotypical flamboyant personality made some speculate about his sexuality, even if he never publicly came out. But that flamboyance didn’t derail his career.

In the years before his death, Little Richard, who was by then based in Nashville, still performed periodically. Onstage, though, the physicality of old was gone: Thanks to hip replacement surgery in 2009, he could only perform sitting down at his piano. But his rock and roll spirit never left him. “I’m sorry I can’t do it like it’s supposed to be done,” he told one audience in 2012. After the audience screamed back in encouragement, he said – with a very Little Richard squeal — “Oh, you gonna make me scream like a white girl!”

Penniman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

Musician Norman Jackson, Who Sought Smiles with the Blues, Dies at 68

Norman Jackson, a versatile musician — known as The Soul Man although he played blues, R&B, rock and gospel — was an ordained minister at age 22. He died at 68 on April 15 in Springfield, Missouri.

Rick Shortt was one of his oldest friends. They forged a 30-year friendship that began with 12-year-old Shortt listening and watching through windows at the Bar Next Door, Shortt said. They kept in touch through the years, and during Jackson’s last decade, they worked together to expand the reach of the Norman Jackson Band.

“The world needed to see him,” said Shortt, the dynamic saxophonist and gymnastic performer. The band placed third at the International Blues Challenge in 2016 and played all over Europe as well as South Korea.

Wherever they went, Shortt said, Jackson brought his mantra along: “He always said, ‘What comes from the heart reaches the heart,’ and he lived that.”

Jackson played numerous free shows for charities, nursing homes and schools.

Jackson was born in Canton, Ohio, and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. His father was a minister; Sam Cooke came to the Jackson home from time to time. Jackson also said he met BB King in the neighborhood and saw him perform. Norman Jackson said in a 2012 News-Leader story. “Man, I sat there and watched that man play that guitar, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Jackson said.

He said his own singing style came from Cooke, the Staples, Curtis Mayfield, the Emotions, Mighty Clouds of Joy and others.

Brenda Seely, past president of the Blues Society of the Ozarks, said Jackson’s nickname, The Soul Man, came from his work to build up people, Seely said. “He would try to sing to them and reach their souls — I think that’s what they (people) meant.”

Jackson moved to Springfield, Missouri about 1990 and joined Don Shipps' band within two or three years, Shortt said.

In 2018, vocalist Conita Silva paired with Jackson as a duo, Vanity Box. They went to the IBC and placed among the top 25 duos in 2019. This year, they entered but did not place.

Hunt also played with Vanity Box more recently for eight months and played at IBC in 2020. “I had an education in soul music like I probably would never have again.”

The Norman Jackson Band’s third-place showing in 2016 was the band’s highest achievement at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Jackson was 64 and told the News-Leader in 2016 he considered the blues a gift from God. “I have been there with other musicians, great musicians, but with the band I have now, we play because we love it.”

This year on February 8, at The Riff, the Norman Jackson Band played to a jubilant crowd, with people approaching Jackson for accolades and hugs.

Grammy-winning 1970s Soul Singer Betty Wright Passes at 66

Betty Wright, the Grammy-winning soul singer and songwriter whose influential 1970s hits included “Clean Up Woman" and “Where is the Love,” has died at age 66.

Wright died at her home in Miami on Sunday, May 10, 2020 several media outlets reported.

Wright was born in Miami on December  21, 1953 and started singing gospel at the age of two, with her siblings in the group Echoes of Joy. When they broke up, Wright was only 11. After switching to R&B she was signed aged 12. Her first hit was Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do – the track later sampled by Beyoncé – which reached No33 in the US in 1968.

Wright had her breakthrough with 1971's “Clean Up Woman,” which combined elements of funk, soul and R&B.
Recorded when Wright was just 17, the song would be a top 10 hit on the Billboard R&B and pop charts, and its familiar grooves would be used and reused in the sampling era of future decades.

She started singing with the family gospel group, Echoes of Joy, and released her solo debut album, “My First Time Around,” at age 15 in 1968. The album yielded a top 40 hit, “Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do.”

After “Clean Up Woman,” she would have her first hit she wrote herself with “Baby Sitter,” a 1973 hit that showed off her so-called “whistle register” vocals, an ultra-high singing style later employed by Mariah Carey and others.

With members of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, she co-wrote her 1975 proto-disco hit, “Where is the Love,” which would win her a Grammy for best R&B song.

A career lull in the late 1970s and early 1980s prompted Wright to start her own label in 1985, leading to a gold album, “Mother Wit,” in 1987 and the comeback hit “No Pain (No Gain)”

Wright’s classic hit “Where Is the Love,” was crowned Best R&B Song during the 1976 Grammys, she was later named the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer for Individual Artists in 2000.

Her riff from “Clean Up Woman” created a life-long legacy as the cut has been sampled by other artists including SWV, Sublime, Willie D, Afrika Bambaattaa, and Chance the Rapper. Her first hit, “Girls Can’t Do What Guys Do,” was later sampled for Beyonce’s “Upgrade U.”
She spent much of the rest of her life as a producer and mentor to younger artists, many of whom were singing her praises after her death.