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.