A number of singers, composers, instrumentalists and others had been inducted Thursday into the Memphis Music Corridor of Fame, however the title most frequently singled out for reward or invoked with awe throughout the night ceremony was not that of a performer however that of town itself — Memphis, which inductee Kirk Whalum, the gospel-jazz saxophonist, known as “the epicenter, the mecca” of well-liked music.
“When Memphis music discovered its option to the UK, I used to be in my early teenagers,” mentioned the British multi-platinum rocker Peter Frampton, who then cited a basic Stax album by Otis Redding: “The primary time I heard ‘Otis Blue,’ every thing modified for me.”
John Sebastian, himself an inductee within the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame as chief of the hit-making band The Lovin’ Spoonful, echoed that sentiment — and even that verb — as he praised Memphis. “At about 17, I began listening to a few of this music, and it modified me,” he mentioned.
Seven inductees plus Frampton — the primary recipient of the brand new “Legacy Award,” meant to honor non-local musicians who embody and perpetuate the spirit of Memphis music — had been honored throughout the roughly two-and-a-half-hour ceremony on the Cannon Heart for the Performing Arts.
With Soulsville Basis govt director and president Pat Mitchell Worley performing as an intermittent grasp of ceremonies, the occasion blended historical past classes and acceptance speeches with stay performances, backed by the Kurt Clayton home band. To have fun some inductees, producer Joe Mulherin assembled all-star tribute combos, as when zydeco-soul queen Marcella Simien, guitar ace Steve Selvidge and 79-year-old blues legend Charlie Musselwhite laid declare to a medley of songs by inductee Don Nix.
Concluding with a efficiency by Whalum and starting with the induction of the Spirit of Memphis Quartet, the night was bookended by gospel; however in between was nearly each sort of Memphis music, representing actually a century of recording.
The seven inductees had been:
- The Spirit of Memphis Quartet, a still-active ensemble with a 90-year-history.
- Cannon’s Jug Stompers, an influential “jug band” that includes banjos, kazoos, washboards, fiddles and so forth, that started making data within the late Twenties.
- Deanie Parker, the Stax singer/songwriter/publicist who was instrumental in establishing the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and spurring the revitalization of the “Soulsville” neighborhood.
- Musical polymath Don Nix, a Memphis Zelig who contributed to every thing from the beginning of Stax (as a member of the Mar-Keys) to George Harrison’s “Live performance for Bangladesh.”
- The late Jimi Jamison, vocalist for such rock bands as Goal, Cobra and Survivor.
- Hip-hop/neo-soul producer Carlos Broady, a studio wizard who has created hits for Lil’ Kim, India.Arie and the Infamous B.I.G..
- Kirk Whalum, a star in so-called “easy jazz” whose saxo solo might be heard on Whitney Houston’s megahit “I Will At all times Love You.” (As Kirk’s nephew, trombonist Kameron Whalum, mentioned when he inducted his uncle: “If you cannot beat ’em, Whalum.”)
Total, near 100 inductees have been chosen by the nominating committee of the Smithsonian-branded Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum (191 Beale, at FedExForum), which showcases Corridor of Fame members in it displays.
Listed here are 4 highlights from Thursday’s ceremony:
Don Nix successful
Inducted by a now bald and bespectacled Peter Frampton, instantly after the 73-year-old rock hero (whose 1976 “Frampton Comes Alive!” album has bought 20 million copies) acquired the Corridor of Fame “Legacy Award,” 82-year-old producer/composer/performer Don Nix — comparatively obscure to most of the people however cherished by aficionados and his colleagues — demonstrated why everybody from Leon Russell to Furry Lewis to Eric Clapton wished him round: He is humorous.
Performing a type of laconic, laid-back, seemingly impromptu standup routine from his wheelchair, Nix quipped: “I gave up a pickleball event for this?” Receiving his award, he commented: “Final time I bought inducted into something I ended up in boot camp in South Carolina.” In a characteristically non sequitur second, he recognized one in every of his pals within the viewers, the good Memphis guitarist Bobby Manuel, as “Roberto Manuel, former centerfielder for the Cleveland Indians.” When the group applauded, Nix lower the clapping brief: “The perfect he ever hit was .215.”
Praising the Lord
The music program started on an inspirational be aware when lead vocalist Melvin Mosley and the present incarnation of the Spirit of Memphis Quartet carried out an a cappella rendition of “On the Battlefield,” a paean to religious dedication the group initially recorded for King Data in Cincinnati: “I am on the battlefield/ I am working for my Jesus/ I promised him that I/ Would serve him ’til I die…”
Finest (?) dressed
Lots of the inductees and presenters eschewed the flash and glam that typify the thought of “music star” within the well-liked creativeness. However Bluff Metropolis Data hip-hop artist Maud Mulan, who joined singer Stephanie Bolton and rapper Frayser Boy (Oscar-winning co-writer of “It is Onerous Out Right here for a Pimp”) for a musical tribute to Carlos Broady, was primarily ablaze: She wore a shiny crimson tight brief gown, with diaphanous peignoir, hair and big-framed glasses to match.
Her solely match was guitarist/vocalist Jim Peterik, who, though he hails from the Svengoolie-taunted city of Berwyn, Illinois, was outfitted in tight leather-based pants, a striped tigerish coat (applicable, for a efficiency of “Eye of the Tiger”) and sculpted hairdo, with a guitar embellished with a Union Jack sample; suppose Austin Powers, undercover in a hair metallic band. A founding father of Survivor and co-writer of “Eye of the Tiger,” Peterik was joined by the much less flamboyant however positively Sundown Strip-ready Jeff Adams of Starship for a musical tribute to Jimi Jamison that dug deep into the subgenres of “Karate Child” energy ballads and “Rocky”-sequel rock.
John Sebastian a one-man band
John Sebastian, 79, whose hits embrace the “Welcome Again Kotter” theme track and the Lovin’ Spoonful favourite “Do You Consider in Magic,” demonstrated his and his musical era’s indebtedness to Memphis folk-blues usually and Gus Cannon and Cannon’s Jug Stompers particularly by interspersing his personal songs (such because the Spoonful’s “Youthful Lady”) with verses from numerous Cannon classics (the well-known “Stroll Proper In”).
Standing heart stage with an electrical guitar, Sebastian — who inducted the Jug Stompers into the corridor — praised Cannon as “an important man” who led “an important band.” Whilst an adolescent, he mentioned, “I used to be conscious that on this bouncy, humorous music there was nice unhappiness, simply beneath.”