Marion Meadows’ new album is ‘Twice As Nice’

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

Despite a pandemic, Marion Meadows’ creative spirit has been in perpetual motion and the fruit of his passion is “Twice As Nice” with fellow contemporary jazz artists Paul Brown, Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Jeff Lorber, Joey Sommerville and others being released April 23 from Shanachie Entertainment.

The Nashville-based saxophonist explains the title of his 16th solo album is a play on words referring to his brother and sister first.

“The title also alludes to the joy I get from spinning my musical web into my albums and my artistic canvas,” he added. “I guess it’s just that restless side of my brain that rarely rests.”

The album’s lone cover is “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which has been recorded by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Nancy Wilson.

“I don’t do many covers, but I have always wanted to record [it],” Meadows said. “This song stirs up so much emotion and I just let my soul do the talking when I recorded it. I was pleased when they played it back in the studio and I knew that this was the take.”

Hailing from West Virginia and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, his musical endeavors began at age 8, studying clarinet.

“I came up listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, but at the same time musicians like Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Chicago and Parliament Funkadelic,” confesses Meadows, who early on cut his teeth playing in avant-garde jazz groups alongside heavyweights Rashied Ali and James Blood Ulmer.

Since his recording debut with 1990’s “For Lovers Only,” he has gone on to tour globally and to make albums with a who’s who of music stars including Norman Connors and Bob James (who were instrumental in his early years), Will Downing, Bob Baldwin, Angela Bofill, Eric Benet, Peabo Bryson, Maysa and Average White Band alumnus Alan Gorrie.

“Each recording is a continuation of my journey,” Meadows said. “I feel as though I have grown as a musician and a storyteller. It is all about my life and the fellowship of sharing.”

FESTIVAL FILE: Documentaries on Rick James, Gordon Parks, Alvin Ailey, A$AP Rocky and Rita Moreno were announced and some of the offerings of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival (June 9-20).

It kicks off with the world premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights,” and will debut “The One and Only Dick Gregory,” executive produced by Kevin Hart and Lena Waithe.  For more info and tickets, visit: tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.

PRE-OSCARS ACTIVITES: Wayne Brady will host and entertain during the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s 19th annual “Night Before” party, considered the premier pre-Oscars event which will take place virtually April 24 at mptf.com/events/the-night-before/.

Award-winning screenwriter and producer Tina Andrews (“Sally Hemings: An American Scandal”) will give a pre-Oscar talk at 3 p.m. April 25 for the Change Agents webinar series produced and moderated by Sharon D. Johnson.

Andrews will discuss her current work as writer and executive producer of the forthcoming film, “From Selma To Sorrow,” about civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo; and working with actress Adjoa Andoh (Lady Danbury in “Bridgerton”) on the audiobook for her historical novel, “Charlotte Sophia: Myth, Madness and the Moor,” which Andrews is adapting into forthcoming HBO Max series, “Buckingham.” Registration in advance is required at eventbrite.com.

CLIPPETTES: Janet Hubert, best known as the original Aunt Viv on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” is at long last returning as a TV regular on TBS’ “The Last O.G.” starring Tracy Morgan …

The bands are hitting the virtual stage April 23, as The Sun Ra Arkestra is presented at SFJazz.org/FridaysAtFive/; The Soul Rebels go live from New Orleans on sessionslive.com; and Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra are featured at The Soraya’s shapeshifterlab.com/livestream/fandango-alja/

Also that day, Afropunk: Black Spring is back with a focus on Afro-Latine and Afro-Caribbean artists in culture represented in concert by Rico Nasty, Seu Jorge and more at planetafropunk.com

Ava DuVernay and ARRAY Filmworks will be producing “Wings of Fire,” an animated series based on Tui T. Sutherland’s best-selling series of books about warring dragon tribes for Netflix

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson (“Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America”) will give a keynote address April 24 for the Carpenter Center Voices for Justice at carpenterarts.org

Stand-up comic and “Wild ‘N Out” actor DC Young Fly has been cast in a new version of the 1990 classic “House Party” from producers Lebron James, Maverick Carter, and the film’s original director and writer Reginald Hudlin …

The Denzel Washington directed “A Journal for Jordan” starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams has been given a Dec. 10 opening date in L.A. and New York

Whoopi Goldberg (Emma & Clyde), Jaleel White (ItsPurpl) and the sons of the late Run-DMC deejay Jam Master Jay (Queens OG) celebrated April 20 (AKA National Weed Day by launching their own lines.

TASTY QUIP: “I don’t believe in girlfriend and boyfriend. I’m single till I’m married. Let’s just kick it love.” – KEKE PALMER on IG

TC ON TV: April 23 – “Mortal Kombat” (HBO): The action-packed movie with Lewis Tan, Tadanobu Asano, Ludi Lin and Mehcad Brooks, premieres in theaters and on the streamer. “Behind Every Man” (OWN): Keonna Green (“Basketball Wives”), fiancée of Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young. “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (HBO): Newcomers Laci Mosley and Skye Townsend join core cast members Robin Thede, Gabrielle Dennis and Ashley Nicole Black for a second season of the Emmy-nominated sketch comedy series with upcoming guests to include executive producer Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union, Jesse Williams, Miguel, Laz Alonso, Omarion, Kim Wayans, Ayesha Curry, Lance Gross, Wunmi Mosaku (‘Lovecraft Country”) and many more.

April 25 – “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” (ABC): Ariana DeBose (“Hamilton”) and Lil Rel Howery (“Bad Trip”) host this pre-event special with music by nominees H.E.R. and Leslie Odom Jr. “The 93rd Academy Awards” (ABC): Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Chloe Zhao, Yuh-Jung Youn and “Nomadland” are expected to be the big winners this night. “Unsung” (TV1): Syleena Johnson  “Uncensored” (TV1): Marsha Ambrosius “Oscars: After Dark” (ABC): Hosted by Colman Domingo and Andrew Rannells with interviews by film critic Elvis Mitchell.

April 26 – “Exposure” (Hulu): Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are executive producers of this reality competition between eight photographers. “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” (ABC): This documentary special chronicles the creation of a Black family of ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets with appearances by W. Kamau Bell, Gloria Estefan, John Legend, Lucy Liu, Questlove and Usher. The Neighborhood” (CBS): George Lopez guest stars as a business rival of Calvin (Cedric The Entertainer). “AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” (World): A trio of shorts including Christine Turner’s “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business,” a look at the trailblazing L.A.-based Black visual artist; Michèle Stephenson’s “Elena,” examining racism and xenophobia in the Dominican Republic; and Amir George’s “Man of the People,” about Chicago’s first Black Mayor Harold Washington.  “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” (NGC): “Keegan-Michael Key In The Icelandic Lava Field”  “Black Lightning” (CW): Keesha Sharp (who had leading roles on Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” and “Empire”) directs this episode.

April 27 – “Nick Cannon Presents Wild ‘N Out” (MTV): Big Tigger, OMB Peezy, Tyla Yaweh, Yung Joc

April 28 – “The Masked Singer” (Fox): The show’s many fans are guessing Bobby Brown of New Edition fame is among the costumed!

April 29 – “Yasuke” (Netflix): Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield (“Judas and The Black Messiah”) voices the title character, a peaceful boatman once known as the Black Samurai in this animated action fantasy series. “Lets Be Real” (Fox): New puppets from the worlds of entertainment and politics, including LeBron James and Kim Kardashian, join previously featured ones, such as VP Kamala Harris and Kanye West.

TASTY QUIP: “As a Black American, who amongst us is more valued and respected than Stevie Wonder? The idea that he would feel [he’d have to move to Ghana] at this stage in his life and career. … I think that Stevie is the soul of American culture, and if the soul leaves the body, then this thing is dead. I thought I’ll follow him over there, or I’ll go myself. I’ll do it for him.” – DAVE CHAPPELLE on Naomi Campbell’s “No Filter” podcast

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.

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