By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader
THE STARS WILL ALIGN: In collaboration with the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the PBS network’s, “Great Performances” will present a “GRAMMY SALUTE TO MUSIC LEGENDS,” the second annual all-star concert offering a primetime spotlight for the Academy’s 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. The celebration and tribute concert features rare performances by honorees and renditions by those they’ve inspired.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees are: Charley Pride, Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, and the Velvet Underground.
The celebration, led by Grammy-winning icon Paul Shaffer as musical director, was recorded in July at New York’s Beacon Theatre and will air on Friday, October 13 on PBS in Chicgo from 8:00 PM until 10:00 PM. The show honors Charley Pride, Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone and The Velvet Underground and will feature performances by Stanley Cowell, Andra Day, Kirk Franklin, Le’Andria Johnson, Neal McCoy, Randy Newman, Vernon Reid, Catherine Russell, Valerie Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Charlie Wilson and Dwight Yoakam. In addition there will be special performances by honorees, Charley Pride, and Shirley Caesar.
During the program, Andra Day will salute Nina Simone by performing “Mississippi Goddamn;” while Kirk Franklin and Le”Andria Johnson pay tribute to Shirley Caesar with a medley of “You Name It”/”It’s Alright, It’s OK,”/”You’re Next In Line For A Miracle”/”Satan We’re Going To Tear Your Kingdom Down.” Pastor Caesar also joins in by performing “Caught Up”/ “Jesus I Love Calling Your Name.”
“I Want To Take You Higher”/”Everybody Is A Star”/”Sex Machine”/ “Dance To The Music” will be performed by Charlie Wilson, Valerie Simpson and Vernon Reid in tribute to Sly Stone.
There is also a special appearance by GRAMMY award-winner Whoopi Goldberg, who accepts the award for the late Nina Simone.