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Entertainment

We remember Cool DJ Soni D

Sonny-D-600Nearly every DJ from nearly every radio station and the club scene in Memphis came out to the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street Monday night to pay homage to the late Cool DJ Soni D, who died in a traffic accident in California on July 1. It was kind of a "who's who" of Memphis radio.

From past to present, almost every station had a presence in the room. People meters weren't important and neither was competition.

In what had the feel of a historic night, more than music set the tone. Heartfelt sentiments filled the room as some of Soni's closest friends and colleagues shared stories of how they met, of how he gave them their names and how he influenced their careers. I looked at all of the legends in attendance and thought to myself, "This was Memphis."

Seeking Maxwell: Landers Center crowd finds its man

Maxwell-5085-600"Where is he? Where is he?" The question bounced around the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., as Maxwell seekers could hardly contain their desire to see the multi-talented singer-songwriter, record producer and instrumentalist in concert last week (July 3).

Thirty-minutes after a crowd-pleasing performance by Marsha Ambrosius, music blasted and then the lights dimmed as Maxell's slender silhouette pierced through a cloud of smoke. The crowd screamed.

  • Written by Angela Jackson/Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Marsha Ambrosius hitting the high notes with ease

Marsha-Ambrosius-4887-600Marsha Ambrosius – formerly of Floetry – has been a consistent figure at the top of the charts since she went solo. As the opening act for Maxwell (July 3), she stepped right into a warm welcome at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.

The image? Stilettos and a black short-set suit, with her natural hair pinned up in a bun unlike her normal over-the-top big hair frizzy look.

In full control of her falsetto skills, she crooned hits from her latest album, "Late Nights and Early Mornings." Halfway through her 45-minute live-band set, Ambrosis belted out high notes from her chart busters, the "Late Nights & Early Mornings" title track, "Say Yes" and "Hope She Cheats on You (With A Basketball Player," which drew cheers from a mostly-female audience.

  • Written by Angela Jackson/Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Traffic accident claims life of Memphis DJ icon, Soni D

Sonny-D-600Kevin Allen Sr. – widely known as legendary Memphis Disc Jockey and Radio Host DJ Soni D – was killed Monday afternoon in Hinkley, Calif., when his 2013 Nissan Rogue collided with another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Attributing details to San Bernardino County coroner's officials, the San Bernardino Sun reported that Allen was driving west on Highway 58 near Harper Lake Road at 3:20 p.m. when he drove into eastbound lanes to pass a vehicle in front of him.

A native of Chicago, Allen was considered a pioneer in the Memphis club scene as well as the national radio industry. He is a three-time Billboard Magazine Award Winner for his work as production manager, producer and engineer for "Tom Joyner's On The Move" nationally syndicated countdown show.

Rare ‘club’ show for Bar-Kays

3barkays2-500Here's one I'm proud to be talking about...the hometown legends are getting ready to bring it on home!

This Friday, July 5th, Memphis' own Bar-Kays will play a rare "club" performance at Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m. There will even be an after-party, so plan on hanging out for a while.

Tickets are on sale now at the Minglewood Hall box office, online at minglewoodhall.com, or you may call 901-312-6058. Stan Bell will be host and Comedian Prescott will kick off the show.

BET Awards, Charlie Wilson a match that works for me

charliewilson1-400I caught the "BET Awards" this past Sunday and surprisingly – pleasantly so – I didn't feel so much like an old out-of-touch guy like I do during the "BET Hip Hop Awards." I didn't even have to keep asking my kids, "Who are these people?"

Usually I would have found something else to do for a couple hours and heard about the show the next morning. But I have to admit, it was time well spent this year. It was a really great show.

I actually had a favorite part. And that part had to be the Charlie Wilson tribute. I can't think of anyone as deserving as Wilson. This guy has had a heck of a career and one heck of a story!

African-American Music Appreciation Month: That’s a wrap!

CarleeMcCullough-160No one ever accuses Memphis of being short on talent. With a church seemingly on every other corner, the choirs are filled with voices worthy of placing on compact discs. Blessed with schools such as Overton and Stax to train and hone those tones, Memphis churns out the "Voices" regardless of genre.

But as we all know, only a few have the disposable income, relationships and the perseverance to make it. It is hard to say who among the "newbies" may wind up along side the Memphis-rooted greats that include The Bar-Kays, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Aretha Franklin, Kirk Whalum, BB King and Al Green.

We have watched as Eightball & MJG, Juicy J and DJ Paul, Three 6 Mafia and Yo Gotti have all risen to national acclaim. With television shows, Academy Awards, soundtrack placements, and the like, these guys are showing us how to do it modern day.

Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland dies at age 83

BobbyBlueBland-600Bobby "Blue" Bland, who many credit with helping to usher the blues into the modern era, died Sunday in Memphis at age 83.

According to the Associated Press, which quoted his son, Rodd, the blues and soul balladeer died from complications from an ongoing illness.

Robert Calvin Bland, now known to the world as "Bobby," was born January 27, 1930 in Rosemark, Tenn., Bland moved to Memphis in the late '40's. He played with Billy "Red" Love and other influential Delta musicians. His first recording was "Dry Up Baby" (Modern 848).

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom