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vol 11 issue 13

John Legend turns out Common Ground

LANSING, MI – The Naturally 7 opened for John Legend on the East Main Stage, July 14 at Common Ground Concert held at the downtown Adado Riverfront Park. The New York based acapella group, who’s CD is entitled “What Is It” enchanted the audience with their angelic harmonies reminiscent of Boyz II Men, with a touch of rap, jazz, R&B, funk and pop.

Two of the Naturally 7 members are brothers. One of those brothers can make sounds from a beat box, to a motorcycle, to a saxophone, and other instruments. The lead vocalist reminds you of the Dtrain lead, on the beautiful song “Say You Love Me,” if you recall that soulful voice.

There are seven members in all, polished in the tradition of the church. John Legend and his band performed all the songs on the “Get Lifted” CD, and then some. They performed Let’s Get Lifted, Used To Love You, Alright, She Don’t Have To Know, Number One, I Can Change, Ordinary People, Stay With You, So High, Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside), It Don’t Have To Change, & Live It Up to an enthusiastic audience.

All ages experienced the emotion filled baritone of John Legend, although the majority of the crowd was composed of twenty and thirty something young ladies that leaped to their feet, and stood throughout the performance from the very moment Legend sang his first note. One young lady screamed, “That’s My Man!”

In addition to songs from the Get Lifted CD, John Legend and his band performed some urban masterpieces that Legend pushed to success as a background vocalist, and piano player. Legend’s jazzy band, background vocalist, captivating lyrics and unique vocal style made the performance a should have been there event!

John Legend is part of the Neo Soul movement performing with other young gifted performers like Common, Musiq, Jaheim, Amel Larrieux, Glen Lewis, Floetry and so on. Legend looks and sounds like a Harlem Renaissance poet in his trademark blazers playing piano in the spotlight, or gliding across the stage. He’s a breezy young man with a one of a kind baritone.

Legend’s musical foundation came from singing gospel when he was a child. His given name is John Stephens. He began recording with a college friend, Dave Tozer that he still collaborates with. Then he became the protégé of Kanye West (Jesus Walks; Diamonds (from Sierre Leone).

John Stephens 2000, and Live at Jimmy Uptown were his first releases. The Get Lifted CD has been very successful, it was certified gold in February 2005. You Used To Love Me, Ordinary People, and So High have been the breakaway singles from the CD so far.

The talented singer, songwriter, musician, arranger and producer has a lot to be proud of in his rising career. Legend performed at Oprah Winfrey’s Legend’s Ball honoring the Black female legends and up and coming female entertainers and trailblazers in June. He has appeared on all the network morning shows, numerous awards shows, and has been crisscrossing the globe on his own tour. He stepped into the spotlight with Alicia Key’s Diary tour.

Legend has received an NAACP Image Award. He’s received a BET Best New Artist award and performed with Stevie Wonder on the same day! He performed at the Grammy’s, played a young Stevie Wonder in an episode of the short lived American Dreams, and was on the cover of the July issue of VIBE magazine. Not bad for a 25 year old with a magnetic voice, a humble manner, and many talents. You can visit his web site at www.johnlegend.com to experience his world-wind touring lifestyle. I believe the young legend will be around for quite some time.

Third Annual
Idlewild Jazz Festival set

The Idlewild Foundation hosts the Third Annual Idlewild Jazz Festival slated be held August 19-21, 2005 on Williams Island in Idlewild, Michigan. The Idlewild Foundation also announced that it was among a select group of Midwest presenters chosen to receive a Heartland Arts Fund grant. This award supports the upcoming performance of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander at the festival.

The Heartland Arts Fund enables individuals and families throughout America's heartland to share in and to enjoy the arts and cultures of our region and the world. In addition to Eric Alexander, the music lineup will include Mose Allison, Jeremy Pelt, harpist Onita Sanders, Deep Blue Organ Trio, and many more.

High school musicians will also participate in the festival. They will attend workshops on Saturday, Aug 20 and Sunday, Aug. 21 and then perform on stage in the afternoon. Interested musicians are encouraged to contact the festival organizers to register. There is no registration fee.

The music stage was named after one of Idlewild's most famous residents; Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. In 1893 Dr. Williams became the first physician to perform open heart surgery in Chicago, Illinois. Recently, the Northwestern University School of Medicine celebrated the legacy of the doctor by dedicating an auditorium and atrium in honor of its graduate.

The Idlewild Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was created to educate and attract the general public to Idlewild. This unique and historic town became a destination for thousands of African-American families seeking rest, relaxation and refuge from big city living. Count Basie, Della Reese, Sarah Vaughan, the Four Tops and many, many other musicians performed throughout the years at the Flamingo and Paradise Clubs.

This year, to encourage everyone to visit Idlewild, the festival is implementing "Free Fridays". Great performances -- no charge!

Authors will use the beautiful sounds of jazz to bring their books to life. Meet over 30 of your favorite authors up close and personal at one of the biggest book signing events ever. Industry professionals will give you insider tips on the publishing world. Aspiring writers, attend a free writing workshop while letting the music move you.

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday performances are $30.00 per adult. Children's (ages 2-15) tickets are $5.00. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.idlewildjazzfest.com/tickets.html

Make your reservations for lodging now! Golf and breakfast packages will be published online as well as the complete lineup. The festival will also offer food, art exhibits and swimming. No alcohol, glass or grills permitted. This is a family friendly event. If you have any questions call: (313) 965-0505.


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