— The Apollo Theater has launched its 80th anniversary season, announcing a series of initiatives and special events. Among them: kicking off the public phase of its $20 million campaign to support new programming. The Apollo has already raised $10 millions towards that goal, with the funds earmarked to support local, national and international programs plus new initiatives in development including the second annual Africa Now! Festival and the venue’s first dance production, “James Brown: Get on the Good Foot.” The Apollo has also announced the initial lineup for its annual Spring Gala (June 10), an 80th birthday celebration featuring performances by Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole and the Isley Brothers with host Wayne Brady.
— P Music/RCA singer/songwriter Charlie Wilson will receive the 2014 Spirit of Los Angeles award from Mayor Eric Garcetti during the city’s African-American Heritage Month celebration on Feb. 11. Following a sold-out performance on Feb. 1 at Theater at Madison Square Garden (with special guest SWV), Wilson will continue his current tour with a Valentine’s Day weekend stop (Feb. 15) at L.A.’s Nokia Theater (joined by Keith Sweat) and Oakland, Calif.’s Paramount Theatre (Feb. 16).
— Legendary drummer and popular session musician Harvey Mason has signed a solo deal with Concord Records. The first release under the deal will be “Chameleon” (April). Blending R&B, urban and jazz, the set updates tracks that Mason — also a founding member of the group Fourplay –either played on or wrote. These include the title track, which he co-wrote with Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington Jr.’s “Black Frost” and Donald Byrd’s “Places and Spaces.”