REMEMBERING BROTHER RAY: There was none like him and that’s why an impressive selection of artists turned out to pay him tribute recently in Los Angeles. The result is the CBS special “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles,” airing Friday night. Jamie Foxx, who is garnering Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Charles in the upcoming feature film bio “Ray,” hosts the show.
Among those seen performing will be Mary J. Blige, Kenny Chesney, Al Green, Elton John, B.B. King, Reba McEntire, Billy Preston, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum. Truly a night not to be missed.
ALL THAT JAZZ: For many, jazz is a love it or hate it kind of thing. The thing is, if more people had the opportunity to experience jazz and the freedom it offers, there’s a good chance that more people would become fans.
Frederick P. Rose Hall, the new New York home of Jazz at Lincoln Center hopes to do just that. The building hosts three venues — the Rose Theater, the Allen Room and Dizzy’s Club — as well as the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame and an education center with rehearsal and recording studios.
On Monday, PBS will showcase the facility with “Live From Lincoln Center: Grand Opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center (One Family of Jazz).” Look for the facility’s artistic director, Wynton Marsalis, his brother Branford, Kenny Barron, Abbey Lincoln, Joe Lovano, Marcus Roberts, Dr. Michael White, Mark O’Connor and Cyro Baptista. This is sure to be a special established and budding jazz fans won’t want to miss.
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you know that there’s a presidential election approaching in the United States. VH1 is tapping into the serious interest by many in the proceedings with a pair of programs on Wednesday.
The first is “VH1 News Presents: Politics – A Pop Culture History.” In a 24/7 media world where everything anyone does is fodder for discussion and laughs, being a politician is a ballsy career move for sure. This show will look at the fine line between entertainment and politics, as well as some of the musicians who have entered the fray in one way or anther, including Everclear’s Art Alexakis, Moby, OutKast and Public Enemy.
VH1 will follow that with “25 Greatest Protest Songs,” a countdown of sorts that will hit all areas of the musical spectrum and the likes of Billie Holiday, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Marvin Gaye, Grandmaster Flash, Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, Bob Marley and many, many more.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to vote on Nov. 2!
EXPERIENCE JIMI: Though his life and professional career were too short, Jimi Hendrix left a storied legacy. Attempting to convey his essence and the profound effect he had on music, the Biography Channel will on Wednesday premiere a new hour-long look at his life.
Noel Redding, who was a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, is interviewed for the set, as is veteran musician Eric Burdon. Others who took part in the documentary are Pernell Alexander and Juma Sultan.
SO MANY CHANNELS… And so much music. Here’s a few choices that will enhance your viewing pleasure:
Monday: A morning of great music and comedy as Joss Stone and George Carlin are guests on ABC’s “The View.”
Tuesday: Dave Navarro seems to really enjoy the spotlight and gambling. Look for him in a seat at the “Celebrity Blackjack 2” table on the Game Show Network. (I’m hoping he kicks Tori Spelling’s ass!)
Wednesday: Elvis Costello has a fantastic new album in “The Delivery Man (Lost Highway). He’ll be showcasing some of its wares on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
Thursday: Bjork’s on CBS’ “The Late Show With David Letterman,” but if you’re able to get some morning viewing in too, check out P. Diddy filling in as a guest co-host on the syndicated yakker “Live With Regis & Kelly.” Kinda goes against the grain of street cred, no?
Friday: Do yourself a favor and watch John Mellencamp as he entertains NBC’s “Today” audience early in the morn. He’s one of the best and most underrated artists out there.
Saturday: Joss again! Check out this recently taped performance on PBS’ “Austin City Limits,” which also features a half-hour with Motown-singing Michael McDonald.
Sunday: If there’s ever been a celebrity who lives in the spotlight, it’s Jennifer Lopez. Check out her tale on “The E! True Hollywood Story.”