Friday, April 24, 2009

STAX OF DVDS: Read what Philadelphia Inquirer's Nick Christiano Writes about "Sam & Dave"

If you haven't visited the Stax Museum Satellite Record & Gift Shop lately, check it out for recent additions, including the new CD by Booker T. Jones, "Potato Hole," which is getting rave reviews. Another is the documentary The Original Soul Men: Sam & Dave."

Here's a review from our friend Nick Cristiano at the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Capturing the magic of live performances
By Nick Cristiano
Inquirer Staff Writer

Like James Brown, Sam & Dave made great records, but they were even more dynamic on stage, where their galvanic showmanship revealed another, essential dimension of their artistry. That's what makes Sam & Dave: The Original Soul Men such a treat.

This two-hour documentary tells the story of Sam Moore and Dave Prater through interviews with Moore himself (Prater was killed in a 1988 car crash), former Stax Records chief Al Bell, and bandleader Paul Shaffer, who notes, "Sam and Dave were two preachers on stage, preaching the gospel of soul."

The heart of the set, however, is the performance clips, which capture Sam & Dave in all their sweaty, gospel-fired glory on hits like "Soul Man," "You Don't Know Like I Know," and the magnificent ballad "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby." The spectacular intensity of these performances is highlighted further by the relative tameness of a few lip-synched outings.
(There are also some oddities - a string-laden version of Bacharach-David's "Make It Easy on Yourself" and a teaming with TV host Mike Douglas (!) on an otherwise great, gospelized version of "Lucky Ol' Sun.")

Thanks, Nick.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Kirk Whalum Cyrus Chestnut

Stax Music Academy Graduating Senniors


Stax Music Academy Spring Concert on May 9, 2009 with Special Guest Jazz Pianist Cyrus Chestnut and Saxophonist Kirk Whalum

Special Salute to College-Bound Seniors

On May 9, 2009, the Stax Music Academy will welcome a very special guest artist, jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, to the SNAP! After School Spring Concert at Germantown Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Chestnut will join SMA student musicians as well as Artist-In-Residence and internationally renowned jazz/gospel saxophonist, Kirk Whalum. The concert, “SOULed on Jazz,” will also feature a very special sendoff, including a video presentation, to some of its most dedicated and talented students, the high school seniors who have completed their last year at the academy and who are all college bound.
This will be one of the coolest nights in the history of our organization because this is our mission coming to life. From the onset of the Stax Music Academy’s programming in 2000, our focus has been mentoring primarily at-risk, urban young people through music education and unique performance opportunities to make certain they move on to college, whatever field of study and profession they choose to pursue. As much as we hate to see them leave us, we couldn’t be more thrilled that every single one of our graduating seniors are going to college.
The 2009 Spring Concert is the culmination of the 2008-2009 Stax Music Academy SNAP! After School program for high school students from throughout the Mid-South, including the Soulsville, USA community surrounding the Stax Museum and Stax Music Academy. All ensembles of the academy will perform: StreetCorner Harmonies, Premier Percussionists, Stax Music Academy Rhythm Section, and the Soulsville Swing Band (jazz). Students from The Soulsville Charter School’s Soulsville Symphony Orchestra will also perform.
Tickets are $10 each (reserved seating) and are on sale in the Satellite Records Gift Shop at the Stax Museum at 926 E. McLemore Avenue. Gift Shop hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. All proceeds from the concert go directly back into programming at the Academy.
During the 2008-2009 SNAP! After School program, 51 students participated, with 44 of those students attending via need-based scholarships, scholarships made possible through generous donations from both individuals and organizations in the community. In addition to after-school music classes, the students also participated in workshops and/or performed with many music industry professionals, including world renowned violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki, founding Stax Records” Bar-Kay trumpet player Ben Cauley, former Stax Records’ producer and keyboardist Lester Snell, Grammy winning gospel singer Smokie Norful, former BLACKstreet vocalist Dave Hollister, and many others. Two of the academy’s students – Amber Robinson and Ashton Riker – were also chosen to sing backup for Faith Hill in October 2008 at the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award Dinner and Ceremony. Riker also signed a major record deal with Vision Records/EMI and is scheduled to tour this summer with Rare Earth and Con Funk Shun.
The colleges to which the graduating seniors have been accepted include Tennessee State University, Murray State University (Kentucky), The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Rhodes College, University of Memphis, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, and University of Memphis.
We hope you'll all come out to not only enjoy the great music that the concert will provide from our students and special guests, but also to stand and cheer for these young people for all of their hard work and dedication in preparing for and applying to these colleges and universities. They stand as role models for our other students as they eventually become seniors . They deserve a big, city-wide congratulations and this concert is everyone’s opportunity to express that to them.