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November 21, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-21

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The Michigan Daily

Friday, November 21, 1986

Page 7

Stars play one for the kids

By Marc S. Taras
...'Tis the season to be jolly, fa-
la-la-la-la--oops! Are we on now?
Just getting in the mood folks! It's
like this: The Jazz For Life Project
has a special shopping list for the
holidays and the bottom line is
$90,000 of stocking- stuffers to
come from the community. A-hem!
Students! This means you, eh? And
tidings of comfort and joy, people!
Because the best part of Jazz For
Life is offering you an evening of
music that you will never forget in
return. What? O.K. Let me take it
from the top.
The Jazz For Life Project was
intitiated by University students to
help raise money to benefit needy
children in the Washtenaw County
area. Staffer Max Dehn speaks of
the immediacy of "raising local
dollars in individual communities
for children in those communities."
Dehn further defines the twofold
nature of the program , "To raise
money for impoverished children
and to raise public awareness in the
community." The contributions to

Jazz For Life are funneled into a
variety of organizations who lack
other sources of vital funding.
Among these are the Ypsilanti Head
Start program and the Perry Nursery
School in Ann Arbor. The list of
groups has been carefully considered
and the need is certain and real.
Now...here comes the fun part.
I have often called jazz 'the
music of life itself.' There are those
two key words again: 'jazz' and
'life.' The Jazz For Life Project
uses jazz concerts as a means of
promoting community involvement
and raising the funds to benefit the
organizations that they have taken
under their wing. And this Sunday
evening at 7:30 p.m. at Hill
Auditorium J.F.L. is bringing Ann
Arbor the first jazz festival we've
had in years! We are talking Big
Time here! And Big Fun for all
those who make a donation; as the
lineup for the night is truly top
Sweet Honey in the Rock is an
inspiring a capella vocal group
comprised of black women. They
will kick off the evening's
festivities with their visceral blend

of spirituals and what might be
called afro-jazz-folk fusion songs.
Their previous engagements here
have made them a fast favorite in
the Ann Arbor area. Ask anyone
who heard their last Michigan
Theater date and you'll get an ear
full. Whew!
Saxophonist Stan Getz is a
headliner who will be heard from in
a number of contexts Sunday night.
The man who mad bossa nova a
household happening (as well as
advancing theicareers of Gary
Burton and Chick Corea), will be
featured in duets with guitarist
Jimmy Stewart early in the
program. And then hold on!
The J.C. Heard Trio will serve
as rhythm section for an all-star
array of talent. Detroit's Heard is
among the most important living
players, having worked with
everyone from Charlie Parker to
Billie Holiday. His group includes
pianist Claude Black and Jeff
Halsey on bass. The front men
whom they will be driving include
trumpeters Louis Smith and Jon
Faddis ("Terrifying" says Dizzy
Gillespie), saxophonist Sonny

Fortune (an amazing player
acclaimed for his work with Miles
Davis and McCoy Tyner), Stan
Getz (more to come!), and vocalist
Big Joe Williams. Williams is
arguably the finest living jazz and
blues singer, and the classic LP
Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams
Sings is a cornerstone of many
jazz fans' collections.
The evening will culminate with
a wide-open, full-steam-ahead
blowing session bringing all these
cats to the stage at once. I am
telling you people there will be
more energy and music than you
can imagine. And surprises galore!
J.F.L. spokesperson Max Dehn
said that "there is just too much
great talent here, with too many
possibilities, to be sure of
everything that might happen!"
Well, Max, I'm sure that there's
going to be more great jazz on one
stage than this town has seen in
many years!
There is every reason to have a
good time. And by joining in thse
fun we can all join in putting our
shoulders to a beautiful wheel.
What goes around comes around.
And if you're going around looking

.Tempts and Tops play final stops

By John Logie
The Temptations pre-date most
of the readers of this article. The
same is true of the Four Tops, who
have lasted even longer than the
Temptations without ever re -
placing a member. Both have
survived a over a quarter of a
century. In fact, they've done better
than survive; they've succeeded, by
keeping pace with the myriad
changes that popular music has
undergone. Temptations leader Otis
Williams said in a telephone
interview that he never imagined
things would last as long as they
have. "We just wanted to sing and
make a living at it, and we thank
God every day for letting us stay
around for 25 years when we've
seen a lot of others come and go."
A lot of other groups would like
to know just what the magic
formula is that has allowed these
two bands to remain vital, and
productive. Williams suggested
that the Motown groups were better
prepared for the ups and downs of
show business than most acts.
"We have a different outlook on
life, and we have been steeped with
show business knowledge, where
we gear ourselves so that it's not
just when we have a hit that we
work our asses off. We try to gear
ourselves so that whether we have a
hit or not we can work, and work
nationally, and make a very
comfortable living. I think a lot of
that came from the early days. We
always wanted to be an act that
could work with or without a record

performers might. But we know,
by and large, the audience is
waiting for "My Girl." So we
always approach that with the same
kind of zeal. When you look out
there and see people having fun, and
happy, and reminiscing...and some
people are crying...you can't let
(the song) be a downer to you.
You should be feeling that you are
part of a very special group, that
can make people's emotions come
up like that, and bring enjoyment
to them in such trying times."
For the past three years the
Temptations and the Four Tops
have been performing together in
the "TNT Tour" which commenced
shortly after the groups brought
down the house with a now-familiar
duel routine on the Motown 25 TV
Special. Even though the groups
are sharing the concert, both acts
tear through hits, re-creating
choreography that was probably
easier to do back when Motown
was only two years old. But
Williams says he feels fine after
shows. "The key is rest. Simple,
plain, unadulterated rest. A lot of
people think that when we get
through, it's, oohhh, the Temps,
wow! They party everywhere they
go, and shingaling and all that.
You cannot do that and then get up
and do an hour, hour-and-a-half
effectively. The key is we take our
behinds to our rooms and rest. Get
that body to get some more energy
to go out and do it again the next
night. I don't party. I go into my
room, I phone, I read books, I
watch television, I listen to tapes
and just kick back rather than doing
a whole lot of partying," said
Recently two former Temp -
tations, Eddie Kendricks and David
Ruffin have been touring on the
strength of their association with
the group. While few would fault
Williams for turning his back on
his former bandmates, he wishes
the pair well. "It doesn't bother me
because both guys were Temp -
tations, and a lot of people know
them from when they were with the
Tempts, and they are no doubt
singing some of the songs made
popular when we were together.
It's just part of life. People have
got to do what they can do. It
doesn't bother me...as long as they
don't use the name. That's the
only thing. Melvin (Temptations

co-founder Melvin Franklin) and
myself, we own the name."
Shortly after Christmas, the
Tempts and Tops will wrap up their
long-running team tour in Detroit.
After that, the bands will work and
tour seperately. Tonight's
Michigan Theater performances
may be among the last chances area
fans will have to see the two acts
together, though Williams doesn't
rule out a reunion somewhere down
the road. "I hope it doesn't sound
like it's the very last time, because
you can never tell what might
happen in the "future...we may
couple again."
Everyone is, to some degree, a
fan of these tow legendary groups.
Big Chillers bop to "Ain't to Proud
to Beg." Love and Rockets fans dig
"Ball of Confusion." And anyone
with a heart responds to "Baby, I
Need Your Loving," and "My Girl."
But as nostalgia-inducing as those

song titles can be, the "TNT Tour"
has managed to overcome the
fatigued aura that often surrounds
acts of similar vintage. The
Tempts and Tops approach each
night as a celebration, and the
emotions and enthusiasm are
generated by both performers and
audience. The real reason why
Williams doesn't party after shows
is because the groups turn the
shows themselves into parties.

Jazz and Blues singer Joe Williams is just one of the greats that will be at
Hill on Sunday.
for an unforgettable evening of little kids who finally got the help
great jazz, then come around Hill he needed, "God bless us, every
Auditorium Sunday night. And in one." Now, where was I, Oh,
the words of one of my favorite yeah...Silver Bells, Silver Bells....
-'- - - - ---'- - -" ""LM" """."
Don't be a turkey!
Take a dozen of Mrs. Peabody' s
cookies to Mom's for Thanksgiving I
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Fortunately, the Temptations
have not had to worry about having
hits to draw upon since 1964, when
they hit with "The Way You Do
The Things You Do." The song
was the first in an endless string of
hits that now forces the band into
the uncomfortable but enviable
position of having to cut bona-fide
hits from their performing
repertoire simply because there isn't
enough time to do everyone's
favorite Temptations song.
Though their song selection is
limited to a degree, by the
tremendous success the group
enjoyed in the '60s and early '70s,
Williams says that the group isn't
tired of singing their older hits.
"We can't take that attitude...other

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