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Pop and Jazz Reviews : Celebration of 'Soul'

May 14, 1992|DON HECKMAN

The second annual "Celebrate the Soul of American Music" show conclusively demonstrated that awards programs can be produced with a maximum amount of spirit and enthusiasm and a minimum of chatter and boredom.

Taped at the Pantages Theatre on Monday for broadcast on KTLA Channel 5 in June, the fast-paced, music-filled event was hosted by Dionne Warwick, Diahann Carroll and Charles Dutton, with a stellar array of presenters.

Many of the performers were a generation or more removed from the honorees--LaVern Baker, Bobby (Blue) Bland, Cab Calloway, the Temptations, the Dixie Hummingbirds and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. But the contemporary interpretations of such classics as "Heat Wave," "Minnie the Moocher," et al. illustrated the continuing vitality of soul, gospel, R&B and blues.

Among the highlights: Glenn Jones' stirring Gamble & Huff medley; the Winans' energetic tribute to the Dixie Hummingbirds; and, above all, Gerald LeVert's bring-down-the-house rendering of a set of Bland's hits.

Portions of the proceeds will be donated to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund (specifically designated for qualified students from the community) and the Rebuild L.A. Fund.

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