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Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
Wednesday 07/22
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds @ The Howard Theatre
$75 / $85
If you were to closely examine the annals of modern pop music history, few creative forces have been more seminal or impacted the contemporary pop/urban genres as much as Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. In a relatively short time, he has reached icon status as a poignant tune smith, prolific hit maker/producer, superstar recording artist, and revolutionary label owner. He is a statistical juggernaut, who keeps adding milestone after milestone to a legacy that seems to have no threshold or peak in sight. A 11-time Grammy winner with 11 solo albums of his own, Edmonds’ impeccably crafted explorations of love, romance and relationships and has made an indelible imprint on the evolution of contemporary pop music throughout the world: more than 125 Top-10 R&B and Pop hits, 42 #1 R&B hits, and 51 Top-10 Pop hits (including 16 #1’s), which have produced single and album sales in excess of 500 million units worldwide. Just a few of the vocalists from which his music can be heard: Whitey Houston, Boyz II Men, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, TLC, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, John Mellencamp, Anthony Hamilton, Brandy, Aretha Franklin, Fall Out Boy, Pink, Charlie Wilson, and Chrisette Michele. Edmonds is the recipient of numerous awards, including Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards and American Music Awards. He was also the recipient of the third BET Walk of Fame Award (previous honors were Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston), and was named BET’s “Entertainer of the Year” at the First Annual BET Awards Ceremony. Edmonds most recent production with other artists includes Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Keri Hilson, Ledisi, Colbie Caillat, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Aretha Franklin. His 2014 duets album with Toni Braxton titled Love, Marriage & Divorce won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. Edmonds is currently working on a new solo album that will be released late 2015. Edmonds’ charitable work is as impressive as his professional accomplishments. His caring and generosity has earned him several accolades, including the Essence Award for Excellence, The City of Hope Award and Variety Magazine’s “Top of the Town” Honored Award. He was the National Spokesman for Boarder Babies, and personally helped raise more than $500,000 for a transitional home, The Little Blue House, located in Washington, D.C. He has also personally donated more than $100,000 to the VH-1 Save the Music program and he continues to contribute to a host of other worthwhile organizations, including the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In 2008, Edmonds combined his musical prowess with his charitable efforts, co writing and producing the song “Just Stand Up” with longtime partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid, which served as the backbone of a multi-purpose breast cancer awareness special. The song featured such current heavyweights as Beyonce, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Leona Lewis, Ciara, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow, and Miley Cyrus, to name a few. Edmonds and Reid were honored by the Noble Awards for their contribution to Stand Up To Cancer. Recently Edmonds his has been very active in supporting Carousel of Hope, which benefits the Children's Diabetes Foundation and Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, as well as Larry Ruvo's "Keep Memory Alive," who are committed to improving the lives of patients and their families as they navigate the extraordinary challenges of brain disorders. In Las Vegas, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health treats patients with Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease, as well as frontotemporal dementia and multiple sclerosis. Among other expressions of Kenny’s generosity are his charitable performances at several fund-raising events for FasterCures, the center for accelerating medical solutions of the non-profit Milken Institute. During an extended 2012 performance at FasterCures’ Celebration of Science at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., he not only enthralled the audience with his songs, but also moved them by recounting the health challenges of his parents including the lung cancer that took the life of his father, a decorated soldier who succumbed when Kenny was in the eighth grade.
Vivian Green
Thursday 08/20
Vivian Green @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Born in Philadelphia Vivian Green was raised in a home where Motown classics were always blaring. Her parents were avid music lovers with talents of their own. Her mother sang and her father, an engineer, played the trumpet. She began singing at age five, started playing piano by eight, and by eleven began writing songs. She knew by age thirteen, that she wanted to sing professionally. She honed her craft at the piano everyday after school, writing mature love songs far beyond her years. At fifteen she began to record at multi-platinum group Boyz II Men's studio. This gave Green a taste of life as an artist and led to an opportunity to write with the band. At seventeen she received her first professional songwriting credit co-writing the song "Dear God" on their platinum selling album Evolution. Green was also offered a recording contract from Ruffhouse Columbia, but her protective parents felt she wasn't ready. Determined to be a recording artist, Green continued to record relentlessly. Her mature, sultry voice and knowledge of material allowed her to sing in some of Philadelphia's premiere jazz clubs despite her age. She also obtained a job singing with two of the top party orchestras in Philadelphia. Additionally, Green sang background for renown soul singer/actress Jill Scott. Green teamed up with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Eric Roberson to create the demo that would win her a deal with Sony Music. The demo contained her first smash hit "Emotional Roller coaster". Her debut album A Love Story released in 2002 and was certified Gold. It received rave reviews from People, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and USA Today to name a few. Her second album Vivian released in 2005 and produced "Gotta Go Gotta Leave" a no.1 AC/Dance hit. The New York times called the album a "stellar sophomore performance". Vivian has several notable features and collaborations. She made her film debut in the Oscar nominated biopic De Lovely portraying a jazz singer performing the classic "Love For Sale". She also appeared in the TV Series American Dreams, portraying Brenda Hollaway singing "Every Little Bit Hurts". Green wrote the songs for playwright/film-maker David. E. Talbert's stage play Love in the Nick of Thyme. She is featured on Cyndi Lauper's album The Body Acoustic and the late Guru's Jazzmatazz 4. She was also featured on Soundtrack to a Revolution, a compilation of spiritual songs featuring artist like Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, The Roots, and Mary Mary. Most recently she collaborated with jazz pianist Brian Culbertson for his album Dreams and produced the top 10 AC hit "Still Here". The song also appeared on Vivian's 4th album The Green Room. In 2004 she gave birth to her son Jordan who was born with an undiagnosed syndrome. Between 2005 and 2010, Jordan's multiple surgeries and health issues demanded her to take a hiatus from releasing albums, but her strength and resilience always pushed her to continue doing what she loves. "Being Jordan's mom is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way", says Green. Green is an advocate for children with special needs and will push her #IamDifferentIamHuman PSA campaign. In 2015 Vivian is set to release her latest Album entitled "Vivid" under Producer/Artist Kwamé Holland's label: MakeNoise/Caroline. "It's different from my other albums because of the energy; but very much still me." The title is certainly fitting. Green's prior work established her as a balladeer and this album will add to that; proving her ability to deliver feel-good upbeat records.Totally produced by Kwame, (Mary J Blige, Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, Fantasia) it is the first of Green's to entice you to dance; colored with ballads that showcase her effortless vocal prowess. In the ever-changing music business Green has stayed afloat delivering classy, heartfelt, and often therapeutic music for her fans. Vivid will assuredly continue her legacy in music. "What I can and will always do is produce music that is from my heart" Says Green "I think that's the essence of soul music anyway.Vivid definitely won't be getting you down. If anything, it'll make you get up."
Kamasi Washington
Wednesday 08/26
Kamasi Washington @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $25
At the age of 13 Kamasi Washington decided to begin a life long quest of the many wonders to be found in music. He made this decision one night when after a rehearsal at his home his father left his soprano saxophone lying on the piano and left Kamasi with an uncontrollable curiosity of all the beauty he’d just heard come from it. So he took father’s horn, and even though he didn’t know anything about the saxophone, in fact he’d never even touched a saxophone, and played Wayne Shorter’s “Sleeping Dancer Sleep On”, his favorite song at the time. Kamasi was shocked he had been playing drums, piano, and clarinet for years but he’d never played the saxophone. Yet he was somehow able to play a song from his heart and in that received an early glimpse of the euphoria that music can bring. And at that moment he knew that music was his life’s quest and the saxophone was his voice. Within two years Kamasi earned the lead tenor saxophone chair in the top jazz ensemble at the prestigious Hamilton High School Music Academy. At the same time Kamasi joined the Multi School Jazz Band (MSJB) where he was reunited with several child hood friends who were well on their way on their own musical quest. During his senior year of high school Kamasi formed his first band with childhood friends Ronald and Stephen Bruner on drums and bass, along with pianist Cameron Graves. The group was called “The Young Jazz Giants”. After high school Kamasi went on to study ethnomusicology at UCLA were he received a full scholarship and was exposed to many of the non-western musical cultures around the world. In the summer after his freshman year Kamasi recorded his first album with “The Young Jazz Giants” a platform they used to spread the new sound of jazz all around the country. In his second year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first national tour with the west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dog. Ironically this band was made of many of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country. Later that year Kamasi joined The Gerald Wilson orchestra. Gerald Wilson was his biggest hero compositionally and being a part of his orchestra motivated him to make composition the focus of his major at UCLA. In doing so Kamasi began studying many of the great American and European composers. After his senior year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first international tour with RnB legend Raphael Saadiq who had ¾ of “The Young Jazz Giants” in his band. Later that year he was given the honor of representing Gerald Wilson’s Los Angeles band on his album “In My Time” witch featured Wilson’s New York based orchestra. Over the next few years Kamasi was blessed to be able to perform and record with many of his musical heroes, from many different genres. He played with legendary jazz artist such as McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, and George Duke. At the same time he was working with artist such as Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, and Quincy Jones. During this same time Kamasi started his new band called “The Next Step”, a kind of modern spin on a big band, with two drummers, two bassist upright and electric, piano and keyboards, three horns and a vocalist. Recently Kamasi has been touring with legendary musicians Stanley Clarke, Harvey Mason, and Chaka Khan. He’s featured on Harvey Mason’s latest album “Chameleon” and will be featured on Stanley Clarke’s upcoming album as well. Kamasi also has a ground breaking new album coming out on the record label “Brainfeeder” with his band “The Next Step”. It’s a triple disc masterpiece appropriately titled “The Epic”.
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao
Wednesday 09/09
Dru Hill feat. Sisqo, Nokio, Jazz & Tao @ The Howard Theatre
$36.50 / $42
Years from now when it’s all said and done, music historians will surely debate the contributions of those who majorly impacted the genre of R&B. Icons guaranteed to be mentioned are industry stalwarts such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jay’s, The Jackson Five, New Edition, Guy, Jodeci, and Boyz II Men. However, any list that does not include the incomparable Dru Hill is grossly inaccurate. The torch bearers responsible for carrying R&B music into the new millennium was the labor of love for four immensely talented young singers who were and remain the quintessential example of superior entertainers. From their first single that asked the ever important question, “Tell Me” (what you want), Dru Hill has been giving fans what they need in the form of numerous classic love ballads and infectious dance songs that have provided countless beautiful memories for millions upon millions of music lovers the world over. Named after a popular Baltimore park, Dru Hill is comprised of Tamir Ruffin a/k/a Nokio, Mark Andrews a/k/a Sisqo, Larry Anthony a/k/a Jazz, and Antwuan Simpson a/k/a Tao, the newest addition the group replacing original member James “Big Woody” Green who left the group to pursue a solo gospel career. In a career that spans nearly two decades, Dru Hill, under the steadfast leadership of their long time and trusted manager Kevin Peck has accomplished literally everything an R&B/Pop group could dream of achieving. From having a string of Top 40 #1 hit singles, multi-platinum selling albums, movie and television appearances, headlining sold out concert tours around the world, to selling an eye-popping 30 million records worldwide, their star power has never been in question. Proof of their immense global following was most evident when their reality show entitled Keith Sweat’s Platinum House became the highest rated series in the Centric network’s history, proving their critics wrong that even after a significant absence from the public eye, fans still can’t get enough of Dru Hill. With a music library fit for royalty, that boasts some of the biggest selling and most popular R&B songs of all time to include “Tell Me”, “5 Steps”, “In My Bed”, “Never Make a Promise”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “These are the Times”, and “We’re Not Making Love No More”, that are considered by many music experts to be standards that help define the 90’s. Additionally, the group’s music has helped tremendously to bolster the sale of movies and soundtracks with their songs often having been the lead single for block buster films like “Eddie” starring Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg (Tell Me), “How to be a Player” starring comedian Bill Bellamy (She’s a Bad Mama Jama), “Rush Hour” starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker (How Deep is Your Love), Wild Wild West starring mega superstar Will Smith (Wild Wild West), and “Soul Food starring former Miss America Vanessa Williams (We’re Not Making Love No More). As their lead single “Back to the Future” off their fourth studio album “Indrupendence Day” heats up the clubs, radio, and the internet, the group’s vocal capabilities is greatly enhanced by the arrival of Tao. The Annapolis, Maryland native whose incredible singing range has him poised to do for Dru Hill what Johnny Gill did for New Edition, and that’s help take the group to new levels of greatness. All while Nokio continues to prove his genius as a songwriter, producer, and singer. Jazz supplies vocal versatility through his amazing voice and his unique ability to play an array of musical instruments. Rounding out the soon to be hall of fame foursome is none other than the Blonde/Silver haired rebel Sisqo, whose dancing and singing brilliance is timeless. Busier than ever performing at sold out venues around the globe for a whole new generation of adoring fans, is the life of Nokio, Tao, Jazz, and Sisqo who prove superior singing + undeniable talent + first rate showmanship = Dru Hill.