After the blooms of spring come the sure signs of summer — the films and the festivals! Here are a few reviews of festivals that went down already and some exciting previews of concerts and flicks to come:
Celebrating the indies, the 18th annual Dances With Films returns to the TCL Chinese Theatres (Hollywood and Highland) from May 28 through June 7. Opening night presentation is “The Challenger” with S. Epatha Merkerson and the late Michael Clarke Duncan in his last performance. Also of note: “Knucklehead” starring Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire”); and “Soledad,” with newcomer Jesse Celedon in a road-trip adventure shot in iconic L.A. locales.
Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, Jeffery Osborne, Patti Austin, Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, DW3, Mindi Abair, and Boney James (whose new album “futuresoul” debuted at No. 1) will headline the Newport Beach Jazz Festival (May 29-31). Visit: www.festivals.hyattconcerts.com for details.
New York City is the site of the 19th annual American Black Film Festival (June 11-14). Taraji P. Henson will serve as ambassador of this edition, which will feature:
The buzzworthy “Dope,” by Rick Famuyiwa, followed by a Doug E. Fresh led party; a “Black-ish” panel; Tasha Smith’s Actors Workshop; Roger Bobb on producing; and events headed by Joe Morton, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Rickey Smiley, Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson, Jesse Williams, Lamann Rucker, Keith Robinson, Mara Brock & Salim Akil, and the writers from “Empire.” ABFF.com has the rundown.
Earlier this month, TASTY CLIPS experienced part of the fifth annual Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival at the legendary Apollo Theatre. “Harlem Nights/U Street Lights” was a program curated by Jason Moran and Music Director Marc Cary spotlighting the historic connection between uptown and the D.C. music scene. Roy Hargrove, Gerald Clayton, Queen Esther, singing group Afro Blue and drumming great Jimmy Cobb shined.
At the Atlanta Jazz Festival, held annually on Memorial Day weekend, 74-year-old saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders may have looked and moved like an older man, but sure sounded in his prime. The event had a lineup that boasted of rising Blue-Note artists, Diane Schuur, Nettwork feat. Charnett Moffett, Stanley Jordan and Jeff “Tain” Watts; hot bassist Thundercat; and Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Later, the fun continued at the host Loews Hotel where the Atlanta Hawks game ruled with a diverse crowd including actor Jeremy Renner (in the currently filming “Captain America: Civil Wars” as Hawkeye).
Sonoma’s rolling vineyards are the path to the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (June 19-21) at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. The fest is dedicated to nurturing a world family peacefully united in celebration of the universal spirit of music. Ambassadors for this year’s edition include Third World, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Luciano, Thievery Corporation, Yellowman, Max Romeo, and Big Youth. For more info, visit: www.snwmf.com.
Still going strong is the Essence Festival (July 2-5) in New Orleans. Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Charlie Wilson, Missy Elliott, Kevin Hart, Common, Esperanza Spalding and Wale are but a few of the many performers.
Speakers include Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Deitrick Haddon, Donna Brazile, Karrine Steffens, Steve Harvey and Iyanla Vanzant. Essence.com has the full schedule.
Closing the season are D’Angelo & The Vanguard, Frank Ocean, Run The Jewels, Solange, Morrissey, FKA Twigs, and Toro Y Moi and others Aug. 22-23 at the FYF Fest at L.A. Sports Arena and Exhibition Park. Tickets and more are available at www.fyffest.com/.
ALRIGHTY NOW: Jason Derulo’s fourth studio-album “Everything Is 4” (out June 2) features guests such as Jennifer Lopez, K. Michelle, Meghan Trainor, Keith Urban and Stevie Wonder. According to Billboard: Derulo invited Wonder to sing and play harmonica on “Broke” when the two bumped into each other at a White House dinner for the Special Olympics in 2014. “If I hear that song on the radio and I’m not on it,” replied Wonder, according to Derulo, “I’ma whoop your a–.”
CLIPPETTES: Netflix’ upcoming birth of hip-hop drama series “The Get Down,” from Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”), has added the legendary Grandmaster Flash as a producer and advisor…
TV Line reports that the next season of “Empire” will add Eliza Coupe (“Benched”) as “an Iggy Azalea-type rap artist (with a Mariah-level ego) whose debut disc is raking in huge profits for Empire Entertainment — much to the chagrin of Cookie & Co.”…
The 50th anniversary of a John Coltrane masterpiece is being celebrated with a reissue by The Branford Marsalis Quartet of “Coltrane’s A Love Supreme: Live in Amsterdam.” The CD/DVD also features rare discussions with Michael Brecker, Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez and John’s wife, Alice Coltrane…
Stephen “Ragga” Marley dropped his album “Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life.” The first single, “Ghetto Boy” featuring Bounty Killer and Cobra, aims to break the cycle of gun violence starting with the youth…
Ciara, (“I Bet”) is performing at Club Nokia on May 30.
TC ON TV: May 29 – “Nightingale” (HBO) David Oyelowo (“Selma”) stars in this provocative drama that probes the darkest corners of a disturbed mind, as a war veteran begins to unravel thread by thread…
May 30 – “2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony” (HBO): Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, John Legend, John Mayer and others salute this year’s inductees including Bill Withers, The “5” Royales, Ringo Starr and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble…
May 31 – “Critics Choice Television Awards” (A&E): Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”); Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”); Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away with Murder”); Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander, Mo’Nique and “Bessie”; “The Book of Negroes” and its star Aunjanue Ellis; and Lorraine Toussaint and “Orange is the New Black” are among the nominations.
June 1 – “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle” (VH1): Fifth season premiere…
June 3 – “Unsung” (TV1): Ike Turner; “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” (SCIENCE): The 6th season finale asks Why Do We Lie? “The Women with the World’s Biggest Hips” (TLC): ‘Nuff said.
FUTURE CLASSIC? For buzzing vintage-soul singer, Andra Day, everything is falling in the right places. The video for her hotly anticipated single “Forever Mine,” is directed by Spike Lee, who used the lobby of West Hollywood’s Standard Hotel as the backdrop.
Lee was impressed by her sultry vocals during the “What Happened Miss Simone?” tribute at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Influenced by timeless singers like Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Erykah Badu, Day’s debut album “Cheers to the Fall” will hit Aug. 28, with contributions from Raphael Saddiq, QuestLove and Stevie Wonder, who actually discovered the vocalist.
TASTY QUIP: “To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.” – MICHAEL B. JORDAN, who faced some social media outrage as the first black Human Torch in the upcoming “Fantastic Four,” to EW.com.
“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists on television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com.