Billboard Bits: MTV VMAs, The Roots, Superfly During Jazzfest

MTV will bring back its Video Music Awards to its intimate New York roots this summer.

MTV will bring back its Video Music Awards to its intimate New York roots this summer. The 23rd annual edition of the event returns to the Big Apple after a two-year stint at Miami's 20,000-capacity American Airlines Arena. The show is set for Aug. 31 at the 6,000-capacity Radio City Music Hall and will air live on MTV.

"The 2006 VMAs will take advantage of the new ways the MTV audience is connecting with entertainment," MTV president Christina Norman says. "Broadband, wireless, online -- these additional platforms will make this year's show even more interactive and engaging, beaming the insanity directly to fans."

The year's show will mark the 11th time the 6,000-seat Radio City has hosted the event, more than any other venue. MTV has also staged the awards at New York's Metropolitan Opera House (twice) and Los Angeles' Gibson Amphitheatre (seven times) and UCLA's Pauley Pavilion (once), which are comparable in size to Radio City.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Hip-hop outfit the Roots will host a two-night concert event May 18-19 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The band will be joined by new Def Jam labelmate Nas, Common and Talib Kweli on the first night. The second round of performances will feature Erykah Badu, Mos Def, J. Davey and Angelique Kidjo. Other special guests are also expected.

The Roots are expected to play material from their upcoming Def Jam debut, "Game Theory," which drummer ?uestlove previously
told will be out in September.

A portion of ticket sales will benefit the family of hip-hop producer and Slum Village founding member Jay Dee (aka J. Dilla), who died last month of complications from lupus.

-- Clover Hope, N.Y.

The Meters, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Galactic and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are among the acts confirmed to perform as part of the ninth annual Superfly During Jazzfest concert series. The event will run concurrently with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival from April 28 to May 6 at such New Orleans venues as the Maple Leaf Bar, the Republic and the newly renovated Contemporary Arts Center.

Making its debut at Superfly During Jazzfest will be Garage a Medeski, a band comprised of Garage A Trois' Stanton Moore, Mike Dillon and Skerik and Medeski Martin & Wood's John Medeski. Also in the works is an all-day May 4 benefit concert in Washington Square Park, details for which are still coming together.

Here is the lineup for Superfly During Jazzfest:

April 28: Garage a Medeski / Riverboat Cajun Queen
April 29: Radiators / Riverboat Cajun Queen
April 29: Umphrey's McGee / the Republic
May 4: lineup TBA / Washington Square Park
May 4: Greyboy Allstars / Riverboat Cajun Queen
May 5: Gov't Mule, Galactic, Dirty Dozen Brass Band / Contemporary Arts Center
May 6: The Meters, Robert Randolph and the Family Band / Contemporary Arts Center

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.